On Thursday I attended and spoke at the The Shock of the Old 2007: Shock of the Social conference at the Said Business School, Oxford University. I was speaking as a replacement for Brian Kelly who came up with the original idea for the talk, Does Web 2.0 Herald The End Of In-House Development And Provision Of IT Services? I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago inviting comments which I was able to incorporate into my presentation. My intention was to try to add value to the presentation, and to make it more social by:

  • blogging about it beforehand, inviting comments
  • incorporating any comments into the presentation
  • providing a real-time chat facility with the presentation
  • distributing the slides widely (on the UKOLN site and on slideshare)
  • blogging about the conference after the event (this post), using the designated tag (shock2007), and inviting more comments

The feedback I got was pretty positive, although the real-time chat idea didn't really work very well in practice - too distracting according to one participant. The 'blogging about it afterwards' idea hasn't worked out too well in practice either - people started leaving comments on the original posting before I had chance to write a new one! The conference in general was great - a good, varied collection of presentations on using social/Web 2.0 software for doing everything from teaching Divinity to creating an environment designed to encourage 'self-disclosure' as part of a psychology course (fascinating, if a little disturbing....) which was illustrative of the potentially 'confessional' aspect of blogging, for instance. Randy Metcalfe in his presentation explained that he participates in all kinds of social software using his 'real identity'. I have, in the past, used several pseudonyms for blogging etc. but have recently decided to use my public identity for all such activities. My rationale is that it will soon (if it isn't already) be possible to unearth just about anything I have contributed in public spaces, so I might as well get into the habit of assuming that this will happen. In the pub afterwards I joined in an absorbing argument about blogging, anonymously or openly. I now blog entirely openly, where another participant (name intentionally reserved) in the argument explained that they blogged anonymously, taking some effort to maintain this anonymity. We talked about the recent AOL debacle and how this demonstrated the difficulty of maintaining an anonymous virtual existence. It was good to catch up with some of the e-Learning crowd - I enjoyed and learned from pretty much all of the presentations, caught up with some familiar faces, and met some new people. The Said Business School is a first-class venue for this kind of conference. The lecture-room facilities were impressive, the catering was pretty good, the WIFI worked as advertised and was free (to the end-user at least).