I'm all for augmented conferences which mix real people with virtual people. We're going to have to find out how to do this much better over the next few years as education and carbon budgets are progressively cut back, so the quicker we get on with it, the better. Note that I don't want to do away with RL conferences and replace them with online events, I want to use technology to extract the maximum bang per buck (or per kg of CO2).I've been involved in a lot of online meetings over the last year, but the one which sticks in my mind is altc2009, which seemed to me to be a tipping-point at which a community accepted the virtual presence alongside physical presence as of equal value rather than as a poor substitute. Sitting in the multi-parallel sessions in Manchester, I spent most of my time augmenting the reality of the talk I was at with the data flowing out of the talk(s) I would like to have been at.
Which technologies? In principle, all of them. Go to where the audience is rather than expect them to sign up to whatever crappy website you've just invented. The snag with this is that there is a risk of salami-slicing the audience and consequently the discussion. Roll on the Google-Wave enabled conference when everything can be everywhere!
For that reason, I was delighted yesterday when I found out that I have been invited to be one of the four web editors for ALT-C 2010. (I'm not trying to steal anyone's thunder, but I'll let the other three introduce themselves just in case cats are inadvertently being let out of bags here.)
This is a new post for ALT, and I'm not sure if they know what a web editor is going to do yet. More to the point, I'm not sure if they know what this web editor is going to do yet, so to alleviate any confusion, I'll tell you. The role of this ALT-C 2010 web editor is to stay out of the way while promoting the most efficient exchange of information through all of the online channels available. And if that sounds like the Tower of Babel, I think I just figured out what the job of ALT-C 2010 web editor really entails.