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August 01, 2008

Unleashing the Tribe

A final quickie before I go on leave for a week...

I just wanted to highlight Ewan Macintosh's keynote, Unleashing the Tribe, on the final day of the Institutional Web Managers Workshop (for which we were a sponsor), which is now available online.  This is a great talk and well worth watching.  (Note that the talk starts almost exactly 5 minutes into the video so you can skip the first bit).  The emphasis is very much on learning, which is fine, though we must not forget that most HE institutions also have a mission to carry our research.

Three comments, on mechanics rather than content, ...

Firstly, as a remote attendee on the day, the importance of having someone in the venue dedicated to supporting remote participants (or rather, a lack thereof) was highlighted very clearly.  Ewan chose to use Twitter as the back-channel for his presentation, ignoring the existing ScribbleLive channel.  That was his prerogative of course, though I happen to think that Twitter isn't particularly appropriate for this kind of thing because it is too noisy for Twitter followers who aren't interested in a particular event.  Whatever... the point is that having announced the change to Twitter verbally at the start of the session, those of us who missed the announcement needed to be informed of the change more permanently thru the ScribbleLive forum so that we could move as well.

Secondly, I note that the streamed video from the various sessions hasn't been made available thru blip.tv (or something like it).  Instead, it is being served directly by Aberdeen, the workshop hosts.  As a result, the streamed video can't be embedded here (or anywhere else for that matter) - at least, not as far as I can tell.  This seems slightly odd to me, since the whole theme of the event was around sharing and mashing content.

That said, apart from a minor gripe about the volume being too low, the quality of the camera work on the video stream was very good.

Thirdly, it'd be interesting to do a proper comparison between Coveritlive, which we used as part of our symposium this year, and ScribbleLive.  My feeling is that ScribbleLive makes better use of screen real-estate.  On the other hand, Coveritlive has better bells and whistles and more facilities around moderation (which can be good or bad depending on what you want to do).  In particular (and somewhat surprisingly), Coveritlive handles embedded URLs much better than ScribbleLive.  Overall, my preference is slightly twoards Coveritlive - though I could be swayed either way.


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As far as CoverItLive and Scribble are concerned I'm not sure either of them are great at the job they've been used for at the recent events - they both seem to have been designed for genuine in situ live blogging with the occasional comment (which I think CoverItLive in particular does really well) rather than backchannel chatrooms which they seem to have been used for..
I think there are more suitable tools out there and I am sure they've been recommended to me in the past but I have forgotten them!!

+1 to Matt Jukes' response - neither tool seems particularly suitable IMHO.

I didn't know that ScribbleLive was being used at the conference, and went with what I thought was relatively widely in use already. Above all, the conversation didn't appear to be thwarted. Indeed, how many other speakers do I see even attempting to take into account, live, what the audience in situ and online is saying? Delighted these are the only grumps you had :-) and I was really excited by some of the points you were able to add - it gave a great opportunity to refine some of what I was saying there and then. Thanks!

We really appreciate you guys using ScribbleLive for the IWMW and we definitely looked at how you were using the product. As a result, we threw in a few changes that hopefully suite it more to that type of application in the future.

We now have commenting on threads, so you can open up your event to the public, without giving them editor abilities. Our aggregation pages can now pull in Twitter feeds for an event too, so they are more of a total destination for live updates of an event.

Also, we can now crosspost events to a Wordpress blog to make liveblogging on your own site easier and better (especially for SEO).

If you guys have any other ideas how we could improve, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.


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