Back From the Online Community Unconference

Forum One Communications

Forum One Communications

I’m back from Forum One’s Online Community Unconference held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California and I have a great deal of information to digest.  I’ll be summarizing my thoughts in a series of blog posts later this month, but I wanted to start by jotting some notes down now.

This is my second Unconference and I really enjoy the format.  The Unconference is a one-day conference so it is very efficient in terms of the people you meet and the content provided.  The craziness and free form nature of the proceedings is also quite refreshing.  For example, here are the 4 principles followed for this “openspace” conference:

  1. whoever comes are the right people
  2. whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. whenever it starts is the right time
  4. whenever it is over it is over

The Unconference also starts off with all 250 participants giving a brief introduction of who they are and the question they are seeking to get answered.  While this takes almost an hour to complete, it is interesting to hear what people are doing and it is a great icebreaker to get a brief introduction so you can follow up with people later in the conference.  The day’s agenda is also set up in a free form, crowdsourced manner with individuals suggesting topics that they would like to lead and when they would like to lead them.  There are 5 timeslots during the day with up to 13 possible topics for each session.  And since you cannot attend all 65 sessions, note takers are assigned for each session and the notes are compiled in the conference wiki.  Bill Johnston and the rest of the Forum One team did a great job moderating the proceedings.

I almost forgot to mention the ‘retro’  Twinkies, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs provided for the afternoon snack.   Fresh cherries, apricots and apples were also part of the afternoon fare for any ‘health-conscious’ or virtuous conference participants.

Many participants were twittering during the day (including me) and you should definitely check out the OCU2009 Twitter feed as there are lots of great nuggets and people to discover.  I had the feed open on my laptop during the day and started following at least 15 new people on Twitter.  The Twitter and Flickr hashtag for the conference is OCU2009 in case you want to follow it on your own.  It was also decided at the close of the conference that the follow-on Twitter hashtag will be #OCTRIBE.  The day ended with the traditional gifting of bottles of Sonoma wine to attendees who made a difference in either a big or little way during the day as determined by the audience.

Finally, here is a picture of the conference agenda provided by Marc Smith:

Forum One Online Community Conference 2009 Agenda

Forum One Online Community Conference 2009 Agenda

Stay tuned for my upcoming OCU2009 posts.

BTW, check out these blog posts on OCU2009 – I am sure there will be more:


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