At every blog con I find a hidden gem, not in the biggest room or hosted by the most famous name, just superb conversation and a sense of something learned -- Eugene Volokh's Sunday session at the first BloggerCon comes to mind, as does La Shawn Barber's faith-blogging session in Nashville. This time around, I thought Tiffany Brown stole the show with Outsider Blogging.
Also, if you want to liven up your conference, invite George Curry.
That said, there were too many other highlights to, well, highlight. I'd single out the ethics session run by Jay Rosen and Lex Alexander on the first day -- not to mention Jay's remark during another discussion, in which it was asked if blogs were up to the standards set by the pros, and he responded that the pros need to ask as well if they are up to some of the standards set by bloggers (including corrections and transparency).
Ahead of the curve: Amanda Congdon's vid-blogging session. It felt to me that many in the room were a little intimidated by video -- not just tech issues in putting on blogs, but a sense that moving pictures are to be delivered unto us by studios and corporations, not stuff we can manipulate as easily as we do words and pics and sound. I think that was why this session was so important -- a year from now, we'll look back at it and see how far we've come.
A moment of satisfaction: sitting in a room with 50 or so blissed-out geeks as Jimbo Wales talked a little wiki-lore, and realizing, wow, this is happening here, one of the more important folks in this whole revolution is preaching in Greensboro.
I hated that I was unable to stay for all of any session, because as host I had to hit them all; I loved that I was able to see at least part of every session.
Regret: Hoder being held up by US immigration. The guy is a genuine freedom fighter, but our government has trouble seeing past the fact he's from Iran. Our loss.
I also regret that I didn't get to spend more time with our visiting session leaders. I think Mike Bowen and I could have talked for hours. As always, the conversations are the thing. I enjoyed catching up on Bryn Mawr with Duncan Black, kids' birthday parties with Jay Rosen, and eating lunch outdoors with Uncle Dave, Dan Conover, Janet Edens, and The Evil Genius himself.
Choice moment: Dave Slusher sees a guy wearing an Evil Genius t-shirt. Didn't know him. A fan. Cool.
I hear the music portion went really well, too -- looking forward to blogged accounts of it, I was so tired from being nice for too days that I just went to bed after hosting my dinner last night. Which was great, too.
Prediction: Calvin Williams Jr. will be famous (for something good).
Too many people to thank, but let me start with all of you who came to participate in the event. Your questions and comments, your conversations during the breaks, and the energy and ideas you take away from the weekend -- that's what this was all about.
Thanks also to our session leaders and panelists, those who traveled from as far away as California and those who could walk to A&T from their houses.
And thanks many times over to Dr. Teresa Styles, Val Nieman, Sheila Whitley and everyone at A&T; Shaka Singleton, Sue Polinsky, Jay Ovittore, Ben Hwang, and the N&R folks; to our great barbecue hosts, the families Hoggard and Wharton and Gross; to our generous sponsors; and to eveyone who volunteered time and energy and money and ideas.