Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


On Being Fully Present

Right before Mark Glasser started his talk on protecting bloggers (which Nashville files covers really well), Mark asked to borrow my laptop (glaser.jpgpicture by Nashville Files.) [Update, May 11, Mark’s column about BlogNashville is now online, and he mentions this as his pet peeve.]

We got into a discussion of me having just attempted to liveblog Hoder. (My post was “When Was The Last Time You Linked Outside the US?“) I found it was really challenging to be present and pay attention to Hossien and also to think about what I wanted to say in a blog post.

I am not the world’s best note-taker: I find that I don’t take notes on things that I think are fascinating (because I’m thinking about them), or obvious. And so my notes on sessions, while useful to me, aren’t the things I want to blog, or a good “running tally.”

I also tend to digress.

Mark and I both felt that the audiences were not engaged. That many peoples’ open laptops, Blackberries, etc, distract them from the people in front of and around them. I think its a shame. A great many people (myself included) travelled to be at BlogNashville, and they spent the time looking at their screens, rather than the people around them. I believe that this is another aspect of future shock:
That we have these distractions for which we have not yet evolved social norms.

Worse, the future being unevenly distributed, we are unlikely to evolve social norms, because different groups employ technologies to substantially different degrees. Internet Relay Chat has an entirely different set of norms from IM. I cringe every time I see someone use “LOL” over “:)” The increasing rate of technology introduction, the different uptake rates, and the orientation of the users will lead to vastly different social norms needing to coexist. In temporary groupings like a one-shot conference, those norms will inevitably come together and clash.

It was very strange (for me) to see Tara Sue Grubb go from filming the discussion in the “Making Money” session to dropping her camera and responding to a point I’d just made. My (silly) expectation is that some people film and others participate. Breaking expectations is always a good thing.

So really, I’m glad to see that some folks, like Tara Sue, were able to both video and participate. Its a fine thing to expose more of the conference to more people. Similarly, the Scared Monkeys guys managed to do a great job blogging. But they have an advantage. They can liveblog and participate at the same time because they’re evil twins!.

Michael Kelley has some related thoughts, as does Technorati’s tag


2 comments on "On Being Fully Present"

  • Tom says:

    You have found out my secret. heh.
    Really, my blogging is multitasking in real life. I tend to be doing a post while on the phone or trying to corral my sons.
    Great meeting you this weekend.

  • Mike Kelley says:

    Yeah it was odd to have her (Tara Sue) comment, I really didn’t know who she was until afterwards. She was one of the few people who didn’t introduce herself or give a url when she first spoke.

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