Last week, San Francisco welcomed the latest installment of the Web 2.0 Conference & Expo at the Moscone Center. I was fortunate enough to attend this event through a free pass that allowed me to go to the event and tour through the expo floor and attend the keynotes. Along the way, one of the main themes that became apparent, and reinforced during the keynote of the Tim O’Reilly, the founder & CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc was one of simplicity and repurposing. Especially during this unfortunate recession that the country and world finds itself in, the goal is to “do more with less”.
While I only had an expo-only pass, I was able to attend some (or at least “sneak into”) great sessions & a keynote or two. Listening first to Tim O’Reilly talk about the overall conference and the state of the industry & simplicity in one keynote followed by hearing John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, talk about design and how he’s repurposing one interesting idea to have multiple uses across the digital world helped set the expectation and was perhaps the best keynotes of the conference – always look out for these as they are they would be what you at least remember from the conference.
After the keynotes, I wiggled into two sessions that were open to attendees only. One of them was an impromptu meeting entitled “Social Media Town Hall” and moderated by the Web 2.0 Expo’s community manager, Janetti Chon and featured two social media figures: Peter Kim & Jeremiah Owyang. The purpose? To talk about some of the controversial topics plaguing social media and it was interesting to hear what the audience had to say in regards to certain topics & questions posed by the panelists. The topics discussed included having sponsored posts, using social media for social good, and some other good ones. The other great session that I think has a lot of validity for those looking to engage in social media was moderated by Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer and his panel of industry professionals to talk about the Social Media Buyer’s Guide – a helpful resource that will give you tips and advice on how you can qualify a person or company that approaches you and claims that they are a social media “expert” and how to determine whether you’re on the right track.
Needless to say, but there wasn’t a lack of networking opportunities that I found. I especially found a great opportunity to hear Tim O’Reilly speak in an intimate meeting with bloggers & press about what’s going on in the industry. You can find a recording of part of his talk here. But aside from the actual sessions and keynotes, the trade show floor was pretty decent, but hardly impressive. The standard vendors were there, including Microsoft, eBay, Adobe and IBM, but not one really stood out in terms of their technology. However, there are some that I did talk to and will review and post at a later time on here.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that there was an “unconference” portion of the event where people could come together and talk about some other “non-mainstream” topics that may not be addressed at the event? And perhaps catching the buzz from President Obama’s historic election using social media, the essence of Government 2.0 was apparent with the Sunlight Foundation‘s “Hack-a-thon” where developers could meet up to help aggregate data on every state in the union to open up politician’s voting records.
Overall, I think that for myself, I would probably attend next year’s Web 2.0 conference. There were some downsides though, which need to be stated. The wireless reception both for those on iPhones and using their laptops was abismal and there weren’t enough outlets, but on the plus side, it was good to see a great mix of people turn out for this event.Google+