How a blogger convention is different from others I've attended...

If I were anywhere else, it wouldn't even occur to me to sit here while the speaker is talking to us and write a blog post. As it is, I'm in a ConvergeSouth session with Robert Scoble, the king of multi-tasking and all that is high tech. He makes my ADD look like a joke.

This session is concerned with video production - a topic about which I'm intrigued but know next to nothing. I have, what, 2 videos on Vimeo; 2 or 3 on YouTube? They're all of my toddler nephew. Meanwhile these folks are discussing media at a level that's over my head, but I'm still fascinated. A little of what's being discussed is seeping in.

What I'm equally fascinated with is the ability I have to peek over people's shoulders and see what they're doing while Scoble talks. (From my vantage point on the back row - are you kidding me? Like I was gonna' set up my laptop closer to the front of the room!?)  It feels so voyeuristic. Unintentionally so, but a little wrong, nonetheless. (Not so wrong that I don't look, you might notice.)

  • One guy's watching a listing on eBay,
  • Another is taking serious notes, just typing so much of what is being said in the room,
  • I'm not familiar with this site the buy beside the eBay guy is using,
  • People are checking email,
  • And lots of folks are on Twitter. (With their computers, as well as their handheld devices.) Twitter is enormously popular today. To join the voyeuristic party, you can see what folks are saying about #convergesouth here. Every little while I get a little notice that there are x number of new tweets. I refresh and see what's just been written this second. (Lots of people are saying more interesting things than I do.)
I keep returning to my fascination with what's considered socially appropriate vs. Just Plain Rude at a conference... such as this, and otherwise. (Looking over people's shoulders aside.) "Polite conference protocol" in my experience thus-far includes lots of handouts, lots of paper notebook scribbling (I, too, have a notebook open beside my laptop, for my much-loved paper scribbling. It's surrounded by my little digital camera and my Moto Q, which I used for tweeting earlier when I had my laptop closed,) lots of low-tech methods for recording the presented material.

Here he jumps from site to site, we watch or follow along on our own computers. And toggle from tab to tab, quick checking what he says, now checking email, now peeking at the conference's "twitterverse."

It's fun to think that these are at least acceptable methods of taking in information. Phrases like "the wave of the future" come to mind. And yet evidence from discussions with those who usually surround me in person ("IRL") would suggest that this is not, in fact, a standard slice of a life. That it's not an appropriate way of participating in a conference presenter's session. That I (and "my people") are just rude.

For me it always comes back to context. While I'm a blogger, am connected on several of the big social networking sites, and this feels very refreshing to me, as it seems an exaggerated version of my usual day, I know it's a mere slice of a very specific niche.

Never mind: I'm loving this niche today.