Just came back from Northern Voice 2007 at UBC. People with laptops and crazy little tech devices were everywhere, taking notes on the sessions as well as checking email, uploading pictures to Flickr, reading Gmail, and blogging, blogging, blogging, even as I write this back home in New Westminster. (Let’s not forget IM’ing.)

You can check out images and feeds from Northern Voice 2007 on these sites:


Anywhere else I would have considered it rude and antisocial to gaze into the glow of one’s computer screen while speakers are speaking, but this was a blogging conference. And it was so much about the social possibilities of technology that it became completely natural that attendees should do socially what they would normally do in isolation, or at least alone.

I collected a lot of new technical information on blogging and technologies (writing down copious notes in my totally analog notebook) but the emphasis was squarely on the human and social aspects of blogging. I met some nice new people and connected with a few people that I hadn’t seen in a while. And a lot of attendees just looked familiar, despite the fact that I haven’t been to a blogger meetup in oh, 3 years.

There were advice and insights aplenty throughout the day, from keynote speaker Anil Dash‘s declaration that “CC’s in email are an act of aggression” to Alex Waterhouse-Hayward‘s advice to write every day and try to include a picture that “doesn’t look like it came from Flickr.” My favourite piece of blogging advice came in the session on Legal Rights and Liabilities for Bloggers, which dealt with avoiding getting sued for defamation, harassment, copyright infringement, etc.: “Don’t post while angry or drunk. The Draft button is there for a reason.”

One last thing: it’s funny that in the same week that this incredible event is going on, the Straight should publish a piece of anti-technology screed by Evelyn Lau. Lau proclaims loudly her disdain for all things connected, declaring proudly not to even use e-mail. Granted, everybody needs to disconnect sometimes to get some real work done, connect to those around us in the moment, smell the flowers, etc. But many of us don’t have a choice about getting e-mail and letting others in the techno doors. Without any best-selling books to my credit, no editors are likely to make an allowance for my not being able to communicate online, send files, etc. Why do I feel so offended by Lau’s poo-pooing of the technology that we writers, workers, editors use to get the job done? Am I jealous that she has the luxury (award-winning writer blah blah) to just say no?

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