Talks I’d Like To See at Northern Voice

Last week, we opened up speaking submissions for Northern Voice, the social media and personal blogging conference I help organize.

The conference, by the way, will be held out at UBC on May 7 and 8, 2010. Why so late this year? We didn’t want to schedule it during the Olympics, and, preferring to keep it out at UBC, we needed to wait until classes weren’t in session.

The deadline for submitting a talk is March 9, 2010. I’ll be one of the people filtering through the submissions. We get more than 100 now, and the amount grows every year. As such, I thought I ought to brainstorm some topics that I’d like covered at this year’s conference:

  • Why do location-based social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla matter? Will they catch on? What are original ideas around how to use them?
  • Dying on the social web. I’ve discussed this topic occasionally, and obviously it’s kind of an uncomfortable one, but as the Internet and its users get older, it’s increasingly germane.
  • Sex and the social web. Not to sound all dirty, but it’s been five years and we’ve never had this topic. We’ve had ‘relationships and blogging’, which is great, but nobody’s owned this subject.
  • How does the average 15-year-old use technology and the social web. As I get older and continue to have zero children, I feel less and less in touch with how the average teenager uses the web. I might actually submit on this topic, in the hopes of convening a panel of teenagers to take questions from the audience.

That’s all I can think of. What topics would you like to see covered at this year’s conference?


  1. Great ideas, Darren! Would be interesting to actually have different demographics on panels…ie. the teenagers (ack!) that you suggest or more “senior” bloggers…

    For the locals: perhaps something related to Olympics, W2? Would be interesting to hear about Olympics/social media post-games.

    Perhaps some topics on sports or health and social media?

    Social media and humanitarian aid/Haiti forward…?

    And finally, (literally!) to take your “dying on the social web” a little farther/further, what about the social web and “virtual suicide” (aka. Virtual Suicide and

    Probably not the first to think of these topics, perhaps the first to write?

  2. As part of the section on the average 15 yo using the web, you may want to include a speaking point on how parents react/manage their kids use of technology. It would be interesting to hear from both 15 yo and parent perspectives. I know a few families with 13-15 yos, and the gamut is seems to be stunning.

  3. Just to clarify: the “virtual suicide” to which I refer is, as Derek said about shutting down your virtual life (twitter, facebook, etc.)–vastly different from the many sites that show/encourage people to take their lives in real time and broadcast it online…

  4. I already submitted my idea for a talk, but now want to do ‘sex and the social web’. The research sounds like it would be more fun than ‘How To Stay Engaged With The Real World’.

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