As I mentioned the other day, I was in San Francisco this week speaking at a (non-web related) conference. I was staying at The Palace, which coincidentally happened to be the location of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Summit.
I didn’t attend any of the presentations, but I did wander around the hallway and foyer outside the meeting rooms. It looked like there were a few hundred people there- and a lot of socializing occurred in between and after the presentations.
I only had one O’Reilly employee ask me if I was an attendee, and that was when I inadvertently wandered too close to a meeting room where some big presentation must have been in progress. Since I was staying at the hotel, there wasn’t much they could do to keep me from walking around, but I’m certain there were other non-attendees socializing and I didn’t see anyone get booted.
While I was wandering around, I kept wishing peoples’ names would appear above their heads in Second Life fashion, since I know a lot more people I blog around with by name than by face. I’m sure I walked right by other people I know from the blogosphere, without even knowing it (those around the neck nametags are hard to read and have a habit of getting turned around).
But I did get to meet a bunch of people, including Robert Scoble, Stowe Boyd and Mike Arrington. It was a truly serendipitous opportunity for me, as a guy from Texas, to meet in person some people I know a little via the blogosphere.
Best of all, I had a long and good conversation with Steve Gillmor. We continued the conversation that began around this post. I restated my apology in person and we talked about a lot of stuff- blogging, geography, podcasting, etc. He explained his thoughts on links to me and, while I don’t know how to fix it, it’s hard to argue with his logic that there is a problem with the status quo.
Without belaboring the point, let me say two more things about these encounters.
First, while you can get to know someone reasonably well via blogging, email, etc., what you know is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to a person than what he or she writes on a blog. I was nosing around this issue in the comments to my earlier post I mentioned above, but meeting these guys in person, particularly Steve, really drove that point home.
Second, I’m starting to think that geography may not be as big of an obstacle to tech-related blogging as I have long thought. I talked to a bunch of other people out there (many of whose names I don’t remember). Quite a few of them of them (I’d say less than half, but close) knew about Newsome.Org- and some of them told me they subscribe to my feed.
Having said that, I think it’s still good to shake hands with someone and look them in the eye. I’m really glad I had a chance to meet a few other bloggers.
I can’t speak for what went on inside the presentations, but the scene outside was pretty neat to experience.