I'm back from Las Vegas toting the usual sore throat from the dry air and ciggy smoke, and a Best Podcast award for TWiT from the Weblog Awards. Thanks for all your votes! (And thanks to Tris Hussey for taking all the pictures here.) Despite my fears the speech went well. For some reason this particular talk really worried me. Fortunately, all that flop sweat pushed me to do more than my usual amount of reading and preparation and I had enough information in my head to wing it. I debated whether to create a Keynote presentation, but with pros like Craig Syverson in the audience I really feel less and less inclined to make slides. I have zero graphic ability and standards are so high these days that I generally prefer to rely on words alone.
I don't know if there are any recordings of the speech but if I can track one down I'll post it here. I should have recorded it myself - sorry! I don't have anything to share except my bibliography.
Yochai Benkler's Wealth of Networks is a deep book about the "networked information economy." It's published by the Yale University Press, but you can also download all 575 pages online. One key quote from Benkler:
Attention in the networked environment is more dependent on being interesting to an engaged group of people than it is in the mass-media environment, where moderate interest to large numbers of weakly engaged viewers is preferable.
For the science of network topologies I relied on Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's fascinating Linked. His insights into how networks form are very useful in understanding how attention flows on the net.
I also drew from a number of inspiring essays on ChangeThis. In particular Dean Brenner's To Inform or To Persuade?, Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne's Just 1%: The Power of Microtrends, and Scott Schwertly's Presentation Revolution: Changing the Way the World Does Presentations. ChangeThis is a remarkable site full of stimulating ideas. Highly recommended.
And thanks to Douglas Volk for this quote (which I paraphrased):
What's fun and vital about the blogosphere is not that it doesn't speak with the questionably unified ("smothered"?) voice of mass culture, but that individual bloggers only need to speak for themselves and about their own personal interests, and don't need to triangulate themselves against any distinct or nebulous center; it doesn't matter who's paying attention and who isn't, even when lots of people are paying attention! Each blogger is a gravitational center, great or small, but there's no sun they're all orbiting around.
Thanks to everyone who attended the talk - it was a full house despite the hour. You were a great audience. Bloggers, Vloggers, or Podcasters, we are all transforming media for the better.
Finally, a note on the kerfuffle over my session right after my talk. The session was billed as "The Cult of Blogging" and was supposed to feature A-list bloggers Om Malik and Mike Arrington. Om's back was hurt and he couldn't make it. Mike didn't show either but there's some disagreement about why. You can read Mike's story on CrunchNotes, and Rick Calvert's explanation at the BlogWorld site.
Apparently I inadvertently ignited a tiny controversy for saying that Mike had "forgotten" his commitment. I apologize for that - but after all as the guy who did show up I had to say something and that's what the organizers had told me. The good news is that up-and-coming A-lister Justine Ezarik filled in admirably and I think the attendees got a lot of good and useful information, even if they didn't get to hear from Om and Mike.