Our Washington Bureau Chief had briefly mentioned the WeMedia conf. in Miami sometime ago and suggested that it be something we check into. We did, by sending in a half thought out version of a time line we have been compiling over here and moved on. Safe to say, we never heard back. So instead of going, we decided to tie into this conf. virtually. We figured their would be enough going on online that we would feel right at home and on-location. With the state of online aggregation and advocacy being what it is (see #inaug09), we figured we would be right there in the mix.
We were not disappointed. Of course, there is no replacement from actually being somewhere. We missed the face-to-face casual chats, pool side meetings, and local eats. What we got instead was an unfiltered interaction with the community of attendees (est. 200) via local Press (Miami Herald mainly), blogs, Vblogs, Posted articles, and minute by minute Tweets.
There was what seemed like an average of 2/3 Tweets (http://Twitter.com) every 5/10 minutes or so. We witnessed little self-promotion in the blogosphere, although plenty of that was happening we are sure. The conf. was being streamed live via the http://WeMedia.com site.
Discussions ranged from TV news embracing new media, Knight CEO Says Journalism Losing its Geographic Roots, and WeMedia, or Their Media? amongst many others.
We found the mood to be somewhat gloomy and perhaps for some reason (These are liberals by some people's description) elitist or is it just confidence? Why would We Media not be a highly charged interactive discussion about success and failure scenarios (live!) of the past 2 years of journalism in general and maybe politics specifically. The whole world now has a case study of how the 2008 Obama campaign used New Media to help change the direction of Democracy. The New Media community has clearly entered the next phase of its integration. Citizen 3-D - Rise of the Advocate. This is revolutionary. Capitalism can never be the same.
It was effective, none the less, to see the cross-roads of traditional press and digital journalism. We hope this is a featured subject / component of this conference for years to come. Virtually speaking, we think We Media is an important gathering of interesting and influential people that are living and examining an evolution in journalism history. Perhaps next year, We Media will engage more of the web and the blogosphere as an actual part of the conference and webcast / post (audio or Audio/video) events. To take it a step further, link up early with blogs, active sites and tech writers / pundits as the year progresses in a "grand experiment" of sorts.
None the less, we were there.
Maybe next year, we'll be there. ;)
See: We Media
Pending update. x2-030309