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opinions from the head lemur
[Posted] Friday, May 24, 2002

Shelley Powers wants to be Center of the Universe

This is a multi part opinion.
The First part is about Shelly Powers the Blogger and a recent posting she made. Those that like or respect Shelley Powers will want to skip the first set cion.

The Second part is a critique of her greeting if she were ever invited to speak at a conference having anything to do with Technology or the Internet.

The Third part is a series of reasons why realtime blogging is not going to go away but will only increase in velocity, utility and ubiquity

Shelly Powers the Blogger

Shelly Powers is a blogger, the BURNINGBIRD. I have talked about her before.

She has issues. She wants to be the Center of the Universe.

Her current posting; PAY ATTENTION on her weblog takes issue with Dave Winers realtime blogging at conferences, a communication meme that is achieving traction in the rest of the world. She starts out:

"Consider this -- you're a speaker who has spent days carefully crafting a presentation, rehearsing it, creating the presentation materials, and so on. You step up to the podium, look out past the glare of the lights hoping to make contact with your audience as you begin to speak..."
"...only to be faced with a sea of silver with little neon-like apples blinking at you. And in the distance is this steady click click click of keyboards, with an occasional muffled curse because someone's hard drive crashed or battery went dead. Punctuated with the faint thud of someone tripping over a power cord."

A stirring and dramatic image of the entire conference audience slaved to Apple Computers, unable to perform sequential actions despite the fact that their attendance indicates that they can follow simple directions, use computers and think. A little farther down she says:

"Realtime weblogging isn't the same as taking notes. Somehow when one takes notes with paper and pencil, you don't try and capture everything - just key elements. For the most part, you focus on the speaker."

She wants us to help the paper, pulp and graphite industries,(the major components of note paper and pencils) and give us tips on taking notes, and how we should act when she is speaking.

However, laptops allow us to record so much more quickly that people attempt to capture more and more of the presentation, to the point where they never look up. They never participate in the conversation that marks the two-way interaction of a good presentation.

Shelley!! You can't have it both ways, conversation and presentation. They are not the same. Conversation is Dialogue, Presentation is Monologue.

A Monologue is a speech made by one person, often monopolizing a conversation. A presentation is Monologue.

A Dialogue is an exchange of ideas or opinions.
Dialogue allows us to test assumptions and present viewpoints unique to our experience. It requires exposure to the possibility that what you believe may not be correct. It also means that you are brave enough to express yourself and listen to the opinions of others. Q&A is sequential Dialogue. It also enhances Presentations.

Shelley Powers wants to be Center of the Universe

She says so:

"Ladies and gentlemen. There is one of me and many of you, but we're still engaged in a real one-to-one conversation with each other."
"You hear my words, you see the movement of my hands and the expression of my face, you view my materials - all of which are integral parts of what I'm trying to say. And I look in your faces, I view your body language, and you speak to me; I know when I should linger or move more quickly."
"We are conversing."
"I take it as a given that some care giver in your past has told you that it's rude not to pay attention when someone is speaking to you. Based on this, I ask you to please turn off your cell phones, shut down your PDAs, and close your laptop lids. "
"Don't worry. If what I say is interesting, you'll remember it. If what I'm saying isn't interesting, then give me the illusion that you're interested while you spend this session's time daydreaming about that hot babe or hunk you met last night. "
"Thank you."

Shelley, you really need to go back to the drawing board. First you state the obvious (one of me and many of you), then you contradict yourself (real one-to-one conversation).

Then you move on to tell us what we are supposed to be doing (You hear my words,etc.).

You then focus on yourself,(I look in your faces,etc.) from someone who allegedly,(" spent days carefully crafting a presentation, rehearsing it, creating the presentation materials, and so on.") then you tell us we are having a "conversation."

You can't have it both ways here either. You have either got a polished presentation or the 'and so on' has consumed what you may have had to offer.

Then you tell us that you are assuming we are not rude folks, telling us how to act and what to think, then as your windup, in the same paragraph you beg us to help you feel good, by telling us again how to act and what to think about.

This has to be one of the worst 'it's all about me' sermons I have ever read or heard. It insults the intelligence of the audience, it demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that you do not understand the difference between presentation and conversation, despite your desperate appeal to pity, tossing sex in the mix hoping that may save your bacon as the rest of it will only lead to the sound of laptops snapping shut, scraping chairs, and the receding footfalls of the folks exiting the hall.

You did get One thing right:
"it'll be a cold day in hell before I do get asked to speak at a conference anytime soon"

Realtime blogging is not about taking away from the presenter despite the hurt feelings Shelley may have.

Real Time Blogging - the next big thing

It is the next big thing. It is the killer app that will connect more people in new and interesting combinations than AOL. All with open protocols across the Internet. It is about sharing, adding value, connectivity, money, time, and dialogue.

The act of sharing has a tradition as long as the internet and beyond. We learn things, we share them. Bloggers do the same thing. Blogging came about as a shared resource. People discovered that not everybody was capable of hand coding, or the myriad of other things needed to play website in cyberspace. They stepped up and invented Movable Type, Blogger, Radio, and others, all sharing applications.

RTB came about as a result of blogging applications and wireless networking. Wireless networking extends the useful life of venues that do not have hardwired networking facilities, and allows networking in places that could not previously be considered for events.

Adding Value
Getting impressions from the event floor, as they are happening, emailing questions, receiving responses, posting, adds value from a number of directions. Clarification, Amplification, Expansion. This adds value to the promoters, as it creates a feedback loop that works much quicker than printed surveys, a show of hands, and expands the audience reach creating a vehicle for new directions for better events and getting rid of the dogs.

Conferences are expensive to attend. RTB allows for small businesses to send a representative who can blog and can forward questions, and comments from the office to the presenters. RTB has application far beyond technology fields. From Industry events in any industry you care to name, to seminars on subjects so esoteric that a only handful of folks will be interested in, the potential is limited only by your imagination, connectivity and the willingness of Event promoters to see the value chain.

It may be geeky today, but it will be part of your business tomorrow.

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