I headed downtown this morning (waaaaay earlier than I'd have liked) to attend the Lexi.net Online Identity Conference. I was curious to see what an internet-related conference would look like in Calgary, having been involved in others elsewhere. I wore my NV '05 t-shirt, of course :-)
I got downtown too early - the buses out of Tuscany go straight downtown, but the last one passes my house at 6:45. So, I had some time to kill before and after registration. What to do... I know! A photo walk down Stephen Avenue Mall!
I wound up taking over 60 photos during the pre-sunrise twilight, and after the sun came up.
What was I talking about? Oh. Right. The conference. After frostbite set in my fingertips, I headed back to the Telus Conference Centre, grabbed some caffeine, and talked a bit with some other attendees, including Wired.com writer Regina Lynn, Aaron J. Seigo, Doug aka Dr. Tongue, and a bunch of others.
The first session was on privacy and anonymity, with some interesting links. Not sure it was aimed at the right audience, though.
After that, I went to Kirstin Darguzas' session on Blogging Your Identity. Kirstin is a professional "mommy blogger" and gave a really good talk on boundaries, online identities, and what it's like being a full time blogger (doesn't sound like as much fun as one would think).
Next up was Janine Warner, talking about Virtual Images - finding out what's available about you online, and how you can take control of it. Very interesting talk, with links to a few tools I hadn't heard of before. I gather her usual audience is more CXO-oriented, so some of the strategies may not be needed by us mere mortals (I'm not about to pay $120 for a company to research what's online about me - this blog likely does a good enough job of drowning out anything I don't know about :-) )
During the lunch keynote session, Heather "Dooce.com" Armstrong told the back story of her blog, how she got fired (yeah, she deserved it ;-)) and how things are much better as a result. I was very interested in her descriptions of personnas and boundaries. What's off limits? What's fair game? She's much more willing to blog about her family than I am, which is fine since they seem to be relatively comfortable with it (aside from Jon's squirming at some of the stories). The lighting backdrop during her talk was mesmerizing/distracting, with fluid Fire and Ice rolling up and down the wall behind her and onto the ceiling. Very cool. But distracting.
Jon Armstrong gave a great presentation after lunch about Branding. He gave a an overview of the general process of branding (initially for companies, later for individuals, mostly about Apple :-) ) Jon's pretty funny, and his Keynote skills were refreshing. Mostly a simplified Lessigian style presentation, marred only by the lack of a wireless controller.
I had to leave before the last session, but having chatted with Regina, I'm sure it was another good one. Sorry I had to leave early, Gina!
I was rather impressed with the conference. I was quite surprised at the international (well, binational) attendees. About half of the people I talked with were in town from the States just for the conference.
It had quite a different feel from a Northern Voice (this was much more formal/traditional) but was much more intimate than an NMC or WWDC. Not a bad balance. Maybe Calgary's ready for Northern Voice YYC? The venue would be completely wrong for that, though. No wireless, for one thing. No wireless? Really? WTF. Wait - I left the laptop at home anyway :-) I just brought my camera and a little reporter-style notepad. A much better way to attend a conference.