In Other HeWeb09 News…

By now most of you who were following HighEdWeb know all about the infamous heweb09 keynote and heckling.  I’m not going to address that.

@cgrymala's #fakeheweb BYOS: Swagbag

Long before the HighEdWeb conference started, Dylan Wilbanks suggested that a place exist for people who could not attend or present at the real heweb09; fakeheweb09 was born.  A Ning site was built for an alternative conference (complete with real heweb09′s color palette).  Participants could post events or poster sessions directly to the site or via other cloud-based tools. Dimdim, twitter, and slideshare were used.  (We even build our own swag and had our own excursion photos.)

Let’s face it: real conferences might give us new information, but often we go so that we can have the presenter preach to the choir.  Then we go back and tell our unenlightened leadership and colleagues that the presenters at the conference they spent good money for us to attend said what we’ve been trying to tell them all along.  I’m not saying that real conferences aren’t great, but so much of the conference happens in the networking.  The presentations were a chance to commiserate and poke fun at the gap between how things should be done and how they often are done.

In the end Curtiss Grymala had an idea that resonated with attendees: what if we put our fakeheweb efforts into something real?  Here were some ideas quoted from various fakeheweb attendees who responded to his question:

  • “Get together more often to share ideas, brainstorm, and learn about emerging tech.”
  • Use the Ning site to explore what’s available to deliver over a distance and interact with cool people.
  • Use fakeheweb as a perma-conference over lunches: tweet it, ustream it, etc.
  • “Many of us do presentations at work. This might be an ideal forum to dry-run presentations on tech-in-ed, web design and web 2.0. Schedule it here, let everyone know, Tweet it out, and set up an online meeting room.”  “What better place to get feedback on your presentations than among your peers throughout the country/world?”
  • “We should have a sort of ‘Virtual HEWeb’ conference.”

Whether you participated in this fake event or not, what are your thoughts?  What do you think should happen to fakeheweb?

7 Responses to “In Other HeWeb09 News…”

  1. Says:

    As a marginal participant in #fakeheweb09, I’m all for this. In light of my post about the keynote ( I think your points somewhat dovetail with mine, in the vein of breaking out of the conference structure to foster information sharing and support among the higher ed web community. I think we do it very well already on an informal, ad hoc basis (yay Twitter) but creating some loose structure around it could be helpful. Maybe we could do virtual “unconferences” under the fakeheweb banner — lunchtime ustreams, hashtag chats a la #journchat, etc., a friendly forum to try out a slide deck or presentation before taking it to the big stage. I’m in!

  2. Says:

    Georgy’s right that we do this kind of thing all the time via e-mail, twitter, blog posts, etc., and that #fakeheweb could offer some structure.

    So-what kind of structure do we need?

    For me, at least, the problem with the firehose of information that I can get from sources like .eduGuru, the uwebd list, the uwebd Ning site, and 1,000s of tweets from higher ed peeps is that I don’t really have time to keep up. I make time for professional development and reading every day, but I find that I don’t really synthesize all this into concrete plans for action until I go to eduweb and have some time to reflect. (I’ve often thought that the plane ride back from eduweb, going over notes from the various sessions, is some of the most productive working time of the year.)

    So: what if #fakeheweb happened once a month or once a quarter? A regular time to take the pulse of what’s going on out there and find ways to apply it in our day-to-day work. It would have to be something we could put on our calendars and protect from meetings and phone calls, etc. That is, we’d need to sell it to our bosses as worth closing the office door for.

  3. Says:

    Georgy’s right, we already do a great job of information sharing and support on an ad hoc basis, and #fakeheweb could provide a bit more structure.

    What kind of structure?

    For me, at least, the problem with the firehose of information provided by .eduGuru, uwebd, the uwebd Ning site, Twitter, etc. is having the time to a) get a feel for what’s going on right now, and b) turn that into concrete actions I can take. I take the time to read and research for professional development every day, but over that last two years I find that I don’t really synthesize everything into actions until I go to eduWeb. (Actually, the plane ride back from eduWeb, when I go over my notes and figure out how I’m going apply everything, could be the most productive work time of the year.)

    So what if #fakeheweb turned into a monthly or quarterly event that tries to take the pulse of the community? It would give us all something we could put on our calendar and protect from meetings, appointments, and phone calls-and something we could sell to our bosses and being worth closing the door for (or abandoning your cubicle, if that’s how things are for you).

  4. Says:

    I’ve been telling people I learned 2 things at heweb09…

    1. i’m doing fine professionally and i’m up to speed.

    2. i’ve confirmed that our web site is as hopeless as i thought it was.

  5. Says:

    Truth be told if you read blogs and keep up with the “happenings” of the web you aren’t going to learn very much at a conference. That is not why you go though. The networking and community is what it’s all about.

    Remember it’s not always what you know but who you know.

    So network with those people that know what you don’t then problem solving can be much quicker than googling everything.

  6. Says:

    I was at a conference recently having exactly the same thoughts. I wonder if the major reasons for conferences continuing like this is that a) people are used to it; and b) a lot of presenters really like preaching to the choir. It can be very comforting to know that you can turn up to a major national or international event, speak for 10, 20, 45 minutes and have most people quietly agree with you.

    I’ve not yet attended an unconference, but it seems like a much more productive use of time and I’m looking forward to my first chance.

  7. Says:

    I found this thru a google alert and was curious as to why someone started the fake “conference.” Coming from someone who runs the eduWeb Conference and has been on both sides … attending conferences when I was Dir. of Web Development at Salisbury University and then putting on a conference, it’s always curiosity that sparks me to try to put on an event that those of you who attend eduWeb get something out of it. I can’t tell you how many times I got SO EXCITED about things I learned at conferences - that I paid for myself mostly - and went back to campus with NO ONE asking me what I learned and really didn’t care. I do believe, that what has been shared here in comments, that a lot of going to a conference is taking a little bit of what you do hear/learn from presenters and networking with others as to what they’re doing. Seeing hundreds of tweets going back and forth thru our opening keynote and thruout the conference was like “passing notes in class” but fascinating to see the back channel of the “new networking.”

    Please keep up posting to wherever you choose to bring new ideas to light and it’s one reason, since I’m not working in higher ed now, that I ask all of you to participate - for any conference - to submit proposals to present. Your colleagues should, I hope, listen to you. And with that said, eduWebis looking for Track Judges for two of our tracks: Marketing Communications and Design & Development. You will review the proposals that come in and make recommendations as to what is presented and thus have a “say” as to what you want to hear when you come. You’ll also receive a free registration; so go to the web site and click on the link on the left.

    And I look forward to reading more of your comments!