This year’s Gnomedex in Seattle was the ninth in its history and my fourth. I am continually blown away by the people in the crowd and on stage who provide a TED-like experience for a fraction of the price and no pretension (no invite only BS).
Last year, there was the first standing ovation at Gnomedex where the guy who drives the Mars Rover (how cool is that?) showed in his closing remarks an image of earth which was the first picture taken of our little blue marble from another planet – awesome. It got a standing ovation and took the conference to a whole new level.
This year did not disappoint and as you might have read in Ken’s recap of Day 1, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith talked about Trust Agents which is their book that just released and is now a NY Times Best Seller. It was capped at the end of the day with Drew Olanoff who I have known for a few years and first met at Podcamp Pittsburgh in 2006. He is an awesome guy and it was truly sad to hear that he had been diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. Drew Olanoff is a community director at GOGII and currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. He has turned the unlikeliest of situations into a new media campaign based around Twitter hashtags called #blamedrewscancer. It is an awesome idea and is backed by the Livestrong Foundation showing the power of using Social Media for powerful change in this world.
Day 2 – The Awesomeness continues
Starting out, Frank Eliason from Comcast gave us an entertaining presentation on the 10 best ways to use Twitter. We had some great content all day but the last two presentations of the day just blew us all away and left our brains in a tapioca state.
Mark Horvath was up to talk about Social Media for Change. I thought that this was going to be a nice presentation on using Twitter or blogging or something. Boy was I wrong.
Mark took $45, a laptop, an iPhone and social media to develop InvisiblePeople.tv in November 2008 to tell the stories of homelessness. He showed videos of some of these “forgotten people” and truly humanized a topic that we ignore in our day to day lives. At the end of the presentation he introduced us to James, a homeless man who was looking well and working hard to get back on his feet. He was in middle of working toward saving enough money for his first and last month rent payment to get an apartment.
What do we do at Gnomedex? We take action.
Like the presentation from Beth Canter last year, this year we passed a hat around quietly on both sides of the aisle and raised $3000 in 20 minutes. Enough for James to get an apartment.
This crowd just humbles me and blows me away with each passing year.
If that didn’t make you cry, stand up and clap and feel like we can use technology to conquer any social ill, Amber Case was up to blow our minds and show us how we are almost all cyborgs or we eventually all will be.
I am very fond of Amber and she is someone that I love having a stimulating and intelligent conversation with especially over a beer. Amber is a Cyborg Anthropologist and New Media Consultant from Portland, Oregon. She founded CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and technology. She can be found online at http://www.twitter.com/caseorganic
In her talk she showed us the first cyborgs and how with all our devices that we are are pretty much a cyborg in one way. At the end of the presentation she said that she had a lot more to include but said that she “didn’t think our brains were properly formatted at this time of the day”. Awesome.
Coming Next Week – 50 people 1 question – “What Makes a Great Website”
During Gnomedex I used the Flip camera and got quick 30-60 second responses to one simple question. That question was “What Makes a Great Website”. Think of this like a video Rorschach test. Let me just say that the results were fascinating. I am still editing and should have that ready for next week.
Other great links to Gnomedex coverage:Google+