This week, Trabian Shorters, V.P. of Communities at Knight Foundation, and I attended the NetSquared conference in San Jose, California. (Knight Foundation was a conference sponsor.)
In its third year, the NetSquared conference tightly programs two days of sessions on how to use social media tools like Flickr, the popular photo-sharing service, along with the real draw: twenty-one project presentations competing to be voted into the top three, with award money and the prestige of "winning" NetSquared.
The twenty-one projects are organized into broadly thematic panels (mapping, aggregation tools), and trends this year included specific asks to extend existing sites and databases with geolocative details, mobile interfaces, and formatted public data.
Most impressively, between sessions and in the hallways, conversation exploded. Presenting to an audience of their peers, the panelists fielded smart questions and excitedly announced finding technical help, calling out other conference attendees and thanking them. After panels, longer and more technical conversations often continued into the hack room, which became the Second Life Mixed Reality event on the second day.
This is a video I took between sessions and between conversations:
Bravo to the NetSquared team for creating a brief incubation of sorts where all projects could hone their ideas and grow from the interested and invested community gathered.