Monday, July 16, 2007

The Evolution of ConvergeSouth

Astute readers of yonder blog will notice the ConvergeSouth logo to the right. What is ConvergeSouth? Good question. Organized by key members of Greensboro’s vibrant blogging community, this free conference first explored the digital revolution in October of 2005. It was great! Local schmoes like me with homemade sites rubbed elbows with Rock Stars of the still burgeoning blogosphere. Congdon, Rosen, Winer and Wales - just some of the names that traded HTML and devoured Hoggard's famous bar be cue with the local blogeratti. A year later ConvergeSouth 06 returned for a one-day stint, but the shortened form did not dilute the roster. Local web satirist Jim Rosenberg shed his solar persona. Tech blog God Robert Scoble accepted the keys to the city and webheadt/first lady in waiting Elizabeth Edwards charmed most everyone in the room. I even sat in on a promising session led by N&R Editor John Robinson that to ervyone's dismay, devolved into a heated exchange of newspaper gripes. Y-A-W-N. That aside, ConvergeSouth 06 was a rousing success and I left looking forward to gatherings in the future.

Well, welcome to the future. Whether you call it Web 2.0 or the New Media Renaissance, the internets are a lot more user-friendly than they were two whole years ago. You don't have to be named Time's Person of the Year to know the way we share data has changed. Just ask your Aunt Hilda - if you can get off her YouTube account. She just ran a search for Polka Karoake and you know how she gets when Lawrence Welk starts to beat-box...

Cue up ConvergeSouth 07. Scheduled for October 19-20, the (still) free conference will once again overtake the campus of NC A&T State University. There the likes of Jason Calacanis, Dr. Abdul Alkalimat, Loren Feldman, Will Bunch and bunch of other folk I'm only tangentially familiar with gather for a deconstruction of what we like to call the Fifth Estate. But ConvergeSouth is more than just a Geek-Out! This year live music will return, with wide-ranging performances in surrounding venues. Most interestingly, the ConvergeSouth Film Festival debuts, under the studied tutelage of one Andy Coon, who, judging from his last vlog, has gone deep undercover in The Mob. Whatever secret oath you've sworn to, you'll find someone intriguing to take out at the knees this year, from street poets to PhD.'s, angry activists to serene City Council members, A-List web celebrities to that skeevy dude from your company's IT department. A lot of very smart people are gonna get together and wallow in what they know. There's only one problem...

I'm scheduled to lead a session. It's not that I'm skeered. Event architect Sue Polinsky didn't exactly have to twist my hairy forearm to get me to sign up to lead said session last fall, but I did so without much forethought as to what issues I might address. Now that we're only 94 days away from the blessed event, I'm still a bit flummoxed. See, I'm not one of these New Media guys. If anything, I'm Old Media, a veteran cameraman who fancies himself a tortured writer. Why, were it not for a shirtless Al Gore, I might very well still be tattooing my thoughts in coffee-stained notebooks, instead of purging my urge on-line every night. Outside of 'How to Blog About Your Job Without Getting Canned', there ain't alot I can offer. Yeah, I got mad video skillz, but in a world smitten with handheld confession-cams, my notions of tripods, layered sound and sequenced shots seem awfully out of vogue. Besides, I got about as much interest in making web videos as the average plumber does in fixing his mother-in-law's sink. Instead, what interests me is the therapuetic torment of all this overcommunication; living to blog versus blogging to live. Sure, I could fill the hour, but it all seems awfully esoteric for this techier-than-thou crowd.

So, even if you have no intention of atending ConvergeSouth 07, you're now free to experience it vicariously through the lamentations of your humble lenslinger. Look for sporadic updates as I suffer repeatedly over just how I might add to the Webhead Convention That Ate Greensboro. Or, if you're coming to this post late, simply jet ahead three months and see how I did. I'm curious to know, myself...


Darkmoon said...

The way you use words just boggles to mind. ^_^

chy said...

You could easily fill an hour hammering home how important writing skills are in maintaining a blog audience. Anyone can dig through breitbart for a dozen headlines and then string them together with cute or pithy half sentences and call it a blog. The same way anyone can post a few photos a day with the same half sentences.
I don't bookmark those blogs.
And it's not the appeal of blog as diary that brings people back to read more, there are thousands of those that never get bookmarked.
Writer's like yourself, who combine skill, humor, intelligence, and just casual don't-like-me?-f***-offidness get bookmarked and moved onto the daily read list.
Not the faux-bitter see I'm cool bloggers who just feel like their writing for an audiance and not themselves.

chy said...

hmmmm, didn't realize I felt that strong about blogs, sheesh.

Anonymous said...

first, your NPPA article was excellent.

second, you hit it right on the head. you live to blog, and it shows. many of us silenced by
our positon behind the camera need a release and you clearly blog.

we spend our shoots quietly observing and then as soon as we get into the newscar .....
bla bla bla
or we simmer
or blog?

punky cameraman