I heard about this 'unconference' from Steve Lawson. He didn't make it in the end due to pending baby. I don't normally get to technical conferences as they are generally too expensive for me to fund and my work don't send me to any. This one had the attractive price of £1.40, although the suggested fee was higher when it came to booking, but with profits going to charity. I thought it would be an interesting experience and so took a day off to go down to the Reuters office in Canary Wharf.
I have to say that Reuters looked after us very well with ample food and drink laid on. They have some nice looking offices with a large room that was used for the conference. I didn't really know many people there and so plonked myself at a random table. I was expecting to hear a series of talks, but the format consisted of someone introducing a topic (politics, news etc) and then we discussed it among those at our table and should post a tweet with our thoughts. At my first table were people from The Guardian, Reuters, the Open University and other organisations. We had some wide-ranging discussion around the topic. Later I met up with my former colleague @TiaAzulay and some new people, including @edent for a different discussion. For the final topic Tia and I were with @mattbuck_hack and @alexhughes of @drawnalism who were drawing the event. You can see the results here, including one of me.
I made my first appearance on Audioboo elaborating on a comment I made in the politics discussion.
The day ended with a panel of twitterati luminaries summing up the state of the twittersphere (not sure about the new language). Common themes from the day were that Twitter is not very representative of the general population and that there is more to journalism that just reporting what is happening. I think that the simplicity of Twitter and open alternatives like identi.ca means that they can be used in many ways. The 140 character limitation can be a pain. You can't explain complex topics and so conventional writing on blogs and elsewhere is still needed.
After the panel people milled around drinking and chatting. I didn't get the names of everyone I met, but I know I talked to these folk, @paulafeery, @misetak, @anniemole, @nchnone, @countculture. I left with my head buzzing from all the cool discussions I'd had. I have to plans to start any sort of internet or Twitter-based business, but I do want to play more with the technology. I just need to find the time.