TiVo for Tech Conferences

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-02-17 Print this article Print

Webcasting the full conference would certainly prove useful for attendees, who often have to make difficult choices between tracks and overlapping sessions. A TiVO for conferences would have to grapple with the same issues DVRs have to confront: diluted intellectual property rights, loss of exclusive content to the porous digital domain and reduced control of advertising and sponsorship. But opportunities for making up that revenue abound. Virtual subscribers could pay much less for authenticated access, or barter attendance fees in return for services rendered. A virtual Hydra group could produce collaborative transcripts more quickly across the full range of sessions, providing indexable and searchable material for Google, Technorati and RSS information routers.
These indexes could in turn drive video blog authoring tools, allowing participants to assemble news and opinion stories and post them to RSS enclosure feeds. This would let conference attendees get quick summaries of sessions they couldnt attend, or use material from earlier sessions as set-ups for discussions in later sessions.
As technologies such as Technoratis attention.xml reach a critical mass of adoption, RSS subscription lists can be mined to identify qualified groups of influencers. Attention dynamics—who, what and when people read, route and respond to—will initially supplement advertising and sponsorship venues, and then rapidly replace them with their superior predictive properties. Nothing will replace the magnetic reality of the best of our conferences—and ETech is surely one. But the network can augment the conference reality, accelerate its combinatorial efficiency and provide immediate feedback on the value of its cumulative progress. However good its gotten so far, were barely scratching the surface. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum eWEEK.com Messaging & Collaboration Center Editor Steve Gillmor can be reached at steve_gillmor@ziffdavis.com. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging and Collaboration Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on micro-content and collaboration technologies. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Messaging and Collaboration feed to your RSS newsreader:

Steve Gillmor is editor of eWEEK.com's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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