2010 Northern Voice - Unexpected AdjacenciesFriday, May 07, 2010
Last year I waited too long before I tried to sign up for 2009 Northern Voice. Tickets had sold out. I was not able to go. In the interim I came to the conclusion that as far as my blog was concerned it was what it was supposed to be. I didn't need to learn anything more. I could now skip blogging conferences. I have never been interested in SEO (search engine optimization) nor have I ever wanted to deal with the acceptance of comments and the hassles that would involve. In short my blog goes out into cyberspace and I don’t give a damn who reads it, or, if anybody reads it.
The latter logic is the same one I used when I was unable to progress from being an efficient chess player to a good one back in my youth. If you lose in chess it is because you are stupid. I did not want to admit that salient fact so I made up the excuse that chess made me restless and gave me insomnia to give up playing it.
I do care who reads my blog and I would wish many would read my blog. By not counting or checking Technorati ratings I will never know and I will never be disappointed. Like my Argentine avestruz (as we call the rheas of our South American pampa) I would rather stick my head in the sand and the problem simply goes away.
So it was with that rhea-like (these big birds have small brains) attitude I came to the 2010 Northern Voice, Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference with the rotten attitude that I was not going to learn anything because I expected to learn nothing. All I ever wanted to know about blogs I already knew. I felt smug in my perceived superiority.
I was not even tempted to attend (in the end I succumbed) Alexandre Brabant’s The Nuts and Bolts of Search Engine Optimization because I thought I knew all about it. My friend Tim Bray had already told me, “Your blog is popular is not popular because it happens to be a Blogger blog that is part of Google. Your blog is popular because you write about interesting things and most of all because you write every day.” After all he should know as his blog posts in ongoing are fascinating even if some of them go over my head. And Bray does write just about every day. It was Brabant who taught me about baby food and, I guess now I must be spoon fed some more of that relevant info.
The new venue at the UBC Life Sciences Centre is certainly much bigger than the old (not so just in perceived age) Forest Sciences Building. But it lacks the intimacy, the lovely corners, the comfortable seating (sofas, no less) and all those glorious Parallam beams. There were some wrinkles because of the move that might have done in other conferences. Consider that the food at the 2008 Northern Voice was much better. There were various instances of equipment failure that shortened the already too short 30 minute 2010 sessions. Coffee (free coffee, that is) was hard to find and some small rooms were soon full beyond capacity while, for reasons that escape me, the very large room of Photo Camp had sparse attendance.
There is no way that such wrinkles could affect my perception that the real reason I go to Northern Voice is to share information with people who do not think mainstream. Here you do not talk about the latest Hollywood film or about rotten Provincial and Federal politics. If anything I can assert that my idea that what makes us human (and “better” than the “lower” orders) is our ability to associate similarities between disparate things, situations and events.
It was at an unplanned “Moose Camp” (a sort of un-conference) where I realized why it was I had come to 2010 Northern Voice. By some stroke of luck I became part of a little circle of people that included the keynote speaker Bryan Alexander (awesome in his pin-stripe suit and hirsute chin) and that peripatetic Road Runner-of-a-woman, Nancy White. It was during a discussion about bridging (getting those who blog and know about the technology involved to link with those who don’t) that White came up with the expression that for me sums up all of the Northern Voices I have attended (three with this one). She used the expression unexpected adjacencies.
All those little things that I overheard here during a day that went past really fast, or wondering why my iPhone camera will not focus where I want to chose it to focus, while Cyprien Lomas’s could, watching the worried Darren Barefoot not smiling (Darren, don’t worry I would go to the Northern Voice conference, coffee or no coffee just to listen to your cow bell) and the many things I learned at Photo Camp, how to make a perfect woman look realistically less perfect, how to make a movie with the intervalometer of a cheap point and shoot and how to colour manage the relationship between my camera, my monitor and my printer so that I could make that glorious redhead (that I have spied in today’s conference with the unlikely but very nice name of Theodora) glow ( something that colour film was never able to do which was to accurately record redheads) as only redheads can glow.
In short it is all those little things that add up and make me look forward to a wonderful second day tomorrow at the 2010 Northern Voice. I know I will not be disappointed. So Darren, please smile.
2008 Northern Voice
2007 Northern Voice
Why do I blog and Ursula Andress