I attended SoCon11, sponsored by Center for Sustainable Journalism, this past Saturday at Kennesaw State University. Price was right, interesting people I know were attending and/or presenting. However this event was disappointing. We checked in, networked, tried to get the wifi working and then trooped into an auditorium for a too short keynote by Lee Raine from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and way too long panel discussion. I am not a fan of panels unless expertly moderated and small, no more than three. Saturday’s panel focus was Social Media and Mobile Perspectives with SEVEN panelists. We get read the bios with a very distracting screen supposedly complementing the speaker’s role, organization, google searches and Wikipedia searches over the panel shoulders. The panel was all male since the lone female wasn’t present. Organizers, this is a problem. Ironically, women outnumbered men 18 to 11 as breakout presenters.
Granted I was cranky since the promised wifi didn’t work well, here’s a suggestion. If you insist on large panels use this approach that the E-Learning Guild employed at DevLearn 2010 in November. Have each panel member present in the petcha kucha style to establish their point of view and expertise (really why should we listen to him/her). Petcha kucha is 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, one focused presenter and quite entertaining. Certainly will put a sizzle into the presentations. If you promote a #hashtag, display the Twitter back channel for all to see and respond.
On the breakouts – one for two. First was disappointing on ROI that seemed to be a “hire me” session but the second breakout was outstanding, filled with great and practical tips to use right now from Barbara Giamanco. Finally, no conference nor session evaluation form via paper or online survey.
Here’s hoping that the promised slides appear.
UPDATE – some slides are now posted, thanks 2/7/2011 4:44 PM