Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ConvergeSouth: The Buzz That Was

Soni & I at SessionWhen a shirtless Al Gore first twisted the internets out of molten lava, experts worried it would turn the people of the Earth into agoraphobic laptop addicts. Perhaps they had a point. Still, when used correctly, the series of tubes that is the web can actually bring people face to face - and I‘m not talking about those skeevy dating websites, either. I‘m talking ConvergeSouth. A (free!) tech conference centered around on-line creativity, CS takes place every October at NC State A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s a fortuitous locale, one that allows me to motor just a few miles from my house and engage in the kind of conversation I simply cannot find at my neighborhood picnics. It’s precisely this elocution that brings me back year after year, for I can find blogging tips and J-School debates right here on my PC - provided I stop playing Donkey Kong long enough.

Despite my affinity for the run-on sentence, I can’t possibly offer a comprehensive view of ConvergeSouth. And don’t judge it from my token photo. While much of CS does take place in college classrooms, there’s musical performances, a film festival and more than a few knocked-back highballs to add to the hip quotient. For visual evidence of said revelry, simply click here and peruse the gallery. But pack a lunch - there are already nearly 500 photographs! Better yet, click here and scan the entries posted by the participants - from the limp-wrested leftie to the screeching right-winger to that TV news boob who fancies himself a poet. Then and only then can you get a sense of why I chose to spend a beautiful October weekend bathing in the glow of a warmed-over laptop. Now, on with the shout-outs:

Early on in the event, I stumbled across a most engaging figure: 'Bill' the talented photographer known as Chathamshooter. Armed with a camera and a sense of history, Bill takes jaw-dropping shots of neglected relics, turning rusty metal into objects de'Art. I urged him to 'blogify' his Flickr collection and pointed to another gifted lenser for inspiration...

As hoped, the South Carolina contingency was in attendance, giving me the chance to put faces to a few favorite on-line personas. There's Myrtle Beach resident Dave Slusher of the Evil Genius Chronicles - who didn't seem evil at all. I assume he's pals with Dan Conover and Janet Edens, a married couple from Charleston who just might save their beloved newspaper industry- if only to scrap it for something more interesting - like Jell-o wrestling...

From right around town was Jayne England Byrne - the blogging breast cancer survivor Julie Luck and I profiled on television months ago. During that visit, I implored Jayne to explore the fertile Greensboro blogosphere. She did and after sitting through my session, approached me to say thanks. Thank YOU, Jayne - your comments warmed the crusty cockles of my photog heart - a piece of anatomy I rarely speak of in mixed company...

Other locals showed up as well. Potato Stew was magnanimous as always and Fecund Stench cackled on cue. Joe Killian donned a jaunty chapeau as Cara Michelle quietly forgave all trespassers. Joel Leonard opined the loss of maintenance engineers while Billy the Blogging Poet politicized his ride. While the rest of us chortled and preened, David Hoggard whipped up the best tasting pig this side of Dick Carney. Mmmm, buffalo...

Tom Lassiter is another local I've grown to groove on. A former newspaper guy who now does corporate video, Tom led a session on making sure your web video rises above that of the average YouTube lip-synch saga. He graciously asked me to take part in his schpiel and together we dropped many a tip on an appreciative audience. Nothing earth-shattering, mind you - just some common sense camera-management to make sure Grandma doesn't come out looking like she's runnin' from the law. Thanks, Tom...

Lastly, there is the matter of Soni Pitts. For months I've hinted that an honest-to-God editor type is helping me prune my blather into something publishable. That person is she - on-loan from a benefactor who will remain anonymous. Though I'd never met Soni, we've shared many an e-mail and phone call and will no doubt share many more. This weekend was a chance for us to share some air and lead a session called 'Blog to Book'. That went well, thanks to her industry expertise and my love for the sound of my own voice. Ever the editor, Soni reminded me at the end of ConvergeSouth that I do indeed owe her some text - which reminds me...

I gotta get busy.

4 comments:

Jayne said...

Once again, thanks for the nudge into the local blogosphere!

ConvergeSouth was awesome. It was great to meet so many interesting people & discover so many new blogs.

I hope that you'll post more about your book project as it unfolds.

Soni said...

Rusty cockles...ewwwww...

I hope you get that looked at, dude.

turdpolisher said...

Rusty cockles? Sounds like a D.J. at the classic rock station.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for the kind words Stewart. This convention was a first for me, a tentative tippy-toe into the shallow end of the blogosphere if you will. Gotta say I feel encouraged to jump in and join the fun. Hope to see you soon.

Bill (Chathamshooter)