Sounds about right.
Limited interactivity, mostly lectures from the stage to an audience -- it didn't seem very personal or democratic or forumlike. The content was sometimes very good, but it wasn't especially fresh or granular. If one more person had said that the internets were "revolutionary" and "transformative" I would have required medication. Much of the day came across as a remedial lesson for NY/DC elites who are finally realizing that this internet stuff is actually happening; but for references to YouTube and MySpace, it could have been 2003.
The conference itself was well-organized and well-run. The crowd and program were full of smart folks, and the conversations and connections in the hallways and between sessions -- always the best part of these things -- were worth the trip. But the sessions felt...off.
Well, Lessig rocked, and Godin was entertaining. Stoller and Danah Boyd and Farouk Olu Aregbe were on point, but only got a few minutes apiece and no chance for interaction with the crowd. Yochai Benkler sped through some high-level material, then got the hook to make way for the next act on the overstuffed program.
Tom Friedman's interview with Eric Schmidt was far too gentle, no sparks at all...but Friedman's solo performance was the low point of the day. Dude stood at a lectern and read -- familiar tales from his book. When he said "the dialogue now is two-way and multidimensional" I wanted to stand up and shout "except at PDF." (Dave Winer's take here; this post has a quote from the notes I was taking.)
The afternoon was somewhat better in places, but the panels were way overpopulated, so nobody could get very deep. It's great that PDF can attract the likes of Craig Newmark and Scoble, but their cameos in the ritual sacrifice of Andrew Keen were a waste of talent. Better to have left it to Shirky, Keen, a mic and the crowd. Ruby managed to keep her panel going, and to involve the room (and to throw in a nice plug for ConvergeSouth), but that was an exception.
None of the presidential campaign staffers were willing to say anything of great interest. At the end, Zack Exley asked the crowd to shout out suggestions for the campaigns to try online. As Caren Rabbino said to me, "They should have just done that all day."
More from Jeff Jarvis.