I started writing this post yesterday, happy to leave it a couple of days before I gave thought to the lasting impressions of a very busy couple of days. Many have already commented and you can read a good selection via Hop Studios' excellent post. My thoughts follow,
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending Northern Voice 2009, this year billed as a Personal Blogging and Social Media conference. This is my fourth year and probably my most enjoyable. There are many things to talk about, such as how the conference sold out in 4 days and yet based on a poll in the room at the opening session over half had never attended before! This is really healthy and although many of the attendees did know each other, it's great to enrich the pool.
There will be challenges on what to do next year. When and where the first two of these, both complicated by the Olympics. Size is another thing and although I know there will be much debate about this, I'm for it growing a bit. SXSW seems to have kept a really good vibe despite growing so big. Could NV become a North by North West (probably already done? Hitchcock or CBC perhaps?).
The Keynote this year was by Stewart Butterfield, co-creator of flickr. Two years ago I talked about how flickr and photos were the main theme. Ironically this year it was not flickr, but twitter that seemed to have the same vibe. So much so that Rob Cottingham's keynote on Saturday was able to make fun of it.
I spent my time catching up with folk I know and actually spending some time having a 'conversation' with someone I've know for years but never talked to – if that makes sense? Super cool on many levels (thanks SuperSusie). I also spent a lot of time helping out Bruce Sharpe record as many of the sessions on video/audio as we could. I'm pretty sure Bruce has a ton of work to do with all the footage now, but if you have some I know he would welcome it – so send it off to him if you have.
Session highlights for me? Rob gets a lot of credit for his hugely entertaining Keynote, poor Nora Young from the CBC will now be followed around by people saying Ahoy! Dave Olson managed to weave Tolstoy's War and Peace into a brilliant session (whilst suitably attired!) and hosted a discussion with Kris Krug and Bev Davies that I loved.
Other points of note included a good session on Data in the cloud and also an introduction to adding Video and Audio to your blog. Then there's the whole Friday agenda and all the sessions I hear were excellent but I didn't attend so I for one will be looking forward to the videos.
I did find time to meet some new folk and I was especially pleased to meet Anthony from Farmstead wines. Even in our brief conversations he is clearly a very engaging and interesting guy – I suspect I will be blogging about him again before too long I could go on and on about the weekend, but suffice it to say it was for me a hugely positive boost at this grey time of year. I came away feeling excited and inspired, motivated and positive. I'd say that for $60 bucks I couldn't ask for better value!