There Will Be No Politicians at Northern Voice

Last year I spoke at Les Blogs, a European Web 2.0 conference that’s been renamed Le Web 3. At this year’s conference, la merde a frappe le ventilateur because two French presidential candidates were snuck into the schedule at the last minute. They spoke in French, and apparently didn’t take questions. This irked a lot of attendees–Tom Raftery renamed the conference ‘Le Week’, though I think he means ‘Le Weak’.

Marc Snyder posted this photo courtesy of Companice, which seems to transcend language:

Robert links to Hugh McLeod’s more positive view of the conference:

I feel that the golden age of “The Blog Conference” is passed. It seems all that needs to be said about blogs has already been said, and said well. Now it’s time to stop talking about the blogs themselves, and start finding new stuff to do with them. Blogs are great, but real life is more interesting.

It’s an interesting point, and one I’m hyper-sensitive to regarding Northern Voice. Having a blogging conference is a bit like having an email conference–eventually everybody will get it, and the conference will naturally die off. I don’t think that time has come yet, judging by the continued popularity of our noobie sessions, and the fact that most people don’t know what RSS is yet.

Increasingly, we’re thinking of NV as a ‘personal publishing’ conference more than strictly blogging. This will become more apparent when we publish the schedule grid, which ought to be in the next few days. When the grid comes out, though, there will be no politicans on it. They’re welcome to attend, of course, and even give a Moose Camp (Friday’s unconference) session, but we’re an apolitical conference.


  1. I wouldn’t mind a politician on a conference’s schudule if a) it’s there ahead of time and b) he/she has something to add to the conference.

    Also, a conference is almost always political. It just shouldn’t be partisan.

  2. Agreed, somebody like Garth Turner could obviously have some insight into blogging and being a politician.

  3. One of the things I said on the panel I was on with Chris Pirillo, Jeremy Wright, and Suw Charman at the first Northern Voice (man, there is a convoluted subject for a sentence) was that no one’s holding grassroots conferences on how to use your phone, or how to drive a car, because those are established technologies that everyone learns now.

    But notice that now there are huge telecommunications and cell phone and CES conferences, and auto shows and car clubs and travel conventions. The technology becomes the infrastructure, and people meet about what they *do* with it instead.

  4. The other reason why people were pissed-off at Le Web 3 is that the Wi-Fi was crappy. So they couldn’t let any steam go during the conference on their respective blogs. They waited until after, and the longer you wait, the bigger the fire is.

  5. “Increasingly, we’re thinking of NV as a ‘personal publishing’ conference more than strictly blogging.”

    And you do so for a reason 😉

    As somebody who speaks at lot of these conferences, I always feel a conflict between coming up with new stuff that the early adapters will find new and interesting, and the late adapters will actually be able to understand/find useful. Often it’s hard to do both.

    Secondly, I often hear backchat critisism at conferences from people who are miffed at there not being enough “new stuff”, yet don’t have much new stuff themselves to contribute, either. This certainly was true at the Les Blogs 1 you spoke at, Les Blogs 2 a year ago, and both Reboot 2005 and 2006.

  6. Darren – As a suggestion for NV, why not talk about the business side of things versus why it is cool. I’d like to think that you don’t the same crowd over and over and one of the ways to “convert” is to give more examples of how all this stuff is making money. More importantly, how other Canadian companies are putting the tools to use and improving their bottom line.

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