Well the MediaConnect conference (Kickstart 06) is over and I’m home again and am in catch up mode (I managed to keep the inbox down to 1200 unread emails over the three days).
I found Kickstart to be a worthwhile experience overall. The highlights for me all revolved around the people I met more so than the content of presentations (not quite where I was at as a blogger – but there were a few interesting sessions).
It was fascinating to watch the small group of new media people (podcasters and bloggers) interacting with journalists, vendors and PR people (not that those categories are mutually exclusive as I met PR people, journalists and vendors who were also bloggers). My observation was that there is a little jostling for position (perhaps legitimacy) going on – but that there were some who were genuinely interested in discovering how the different industries could work together (and a few who were pretty stuck in their ways – believing that their paradigm was pretty much the only legitimate one).
This was probably most evident in a series of posts written by bloggers over the few days (both by those in attendance and those who were not) around the topic of an Aussie A-list. I won’t rehash the whole thing here but you can follow the ‘conversation’ with Mark, Cameron, Ben, Shane, Anthony and Frank (let me know if I missed anyone). update: Cameron has written a bit more on Kickstart here.,
Not wanting to stir the pot but the conversation of who’s in and who’s out of an A-list to me is a sign of perhaps the level of maturity that we have as an Aussie Blogosphere.
I’m not saying that those having the conversation are immature – but rather that perhaps it is a reflection of the fact that Australian blogging doesn’t have a really strong identity. Conversations about who is in, or who is legitimate are just a natural part of establishing such an identity (the conversation reminded me of some of the elements in The Blog Cycle that Anil Dash wrote about last year).
I’m not sure we need an Aussie A-list and so stayed out of what was a largely friendly conversation. I was however happy to see Aussie bloggers interacting – something that I feel is important and that we should do more of.
In fact one of my reflections to Phil Sim (organizer of Kickstart) was that I’d love to see a larger contingent of new media types gather together in future versions of the conference (or in some other form). I’d have loved to get all the bloggers in the same room at the same time over the last few days just to swap stories, dream a little and nut out whether there was some way of drawing a larger gathering of us together in the future.
We’ve long talked about an Aussie Blogger gathering and while I enjoyed the company of the PR types, vendors and Journalists over the past few days it left me with a bit of a thirst to be around more of ‘my own kind’.
Having said that I did enjoy some of the conversations that I had with journalists particularly – some of whom are genuinely and honestly grappling with new media and what it means for their industry (and themselves personally).
Overall it was a worthwhile few days and good just to get out of the office and interact with ‘real people’ face to face – something I need to do more of.