I’ve attended and covered a number of technology and software industry events and conferences, from big events like SXSW to small local industry conferences. Here’s some of the resulting coverage, which demonstrates my facility with technical and business concepts ranging from mobile marketing to people-powered search.
MITX: Ask the Social Media Experts
Last Thursday, MITX and the Boston Interactive Media Association gave members a chance to “Ask the Social Media Experts” at the UK Trade & Investment offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The panel,composed of social media experts Lois Kelly from Foghound, Erik Qualman from Socialnomics, Larry Weber from W2 group, and Dan Zarella from HubSpot, answered questions submitted via Twitter in advance and during the session.
MITX moderator Robert Davis, VP of Digital Marketing at PJA Advertising & Marketing, launched the discussion with great insights on starting out in social media, effective behavior, and techniques for defining and measuring success. Throughout the evening, the panelists handled the range of topics with impressive savvy. But in the audience something felt a little off. There was an elephant in the room.
Cyberposium 15: Cleantech/Greentech and the Mobile Consumer
Bostonist woke up a little late for Cyberposium 15 yesterday, but still managed to attend a number of informative sessions about “Navigating the Digital Storm.” This year’s theme, inspired by the escalating (but potentially halted) economic crisis, was designed to explore ways for technology companies to get through this tough time. Cyberposium is organized entirely by Harvard Business School students, and while their presence was strong at the conference, some normal folk (though many of them HBS alumni or MIT Sloan students) made their way in as well. Not many women were among the presenters—we saw absolutely none on the panels we attended, and there were only a handful involved in the conference overall. More heartening was the presence of female students in the audience; we hope that in a few years some of these women will be answering, not asking, the questions. Diversity was also lacking in panels but more prevalent in the audience, suggesting a more varied future for technology.
Free Speech, Free Minds, Free Markets: Jimmy Wales Takes On Google
Wikipedia founder “Top” Jimmy Wales spoke at Suffolk University last night as part of the Ford Hall Forum. Bostonist was there to get the scoop on how open source will kill Google in the search battle, how Wikipedia is evolving differently in different cultures (did you know the French think they invented the airplane?), and how much Jimmy Wales friggin’ loves Ayn Rand.
The evening didn’t have a promising start: a tech guy labored at the platform for several minutes, attempting to get Jimmy’s the venue’s PC [We’ve been informed that Wales does not use a PC or Windows–whew! –Ed.] hooked up for his PowerPoint presentation. You’d think that a threat to Google could easily menace a laptop into submission, but apparently Jimmy just doesn’t do his own tech work. Anyway, the laptop finally communicated with the projector, and we could see Jimmy’s simple slides.
Beyond the Politics of Fear: Reclaiming Our Civil Liberties
The ACLU of Massachusetts hosted a conference yesterday on reclaiming our civil liberties in the post-Bush era. Glenn Greenwald was the featured speaker and used his time to address the myriad impediments to civil liberties that face us even as the advent of Barack Obama brings some hope.
Massachusetts ACLU director Carol Rose opened the event by stressing the organization’s desire to grow from 20,000 to 30,000 members in five years, encouraging folks to join up or “turn in a friend” to the organization. Rose asserted that “today we have an opportunity to really seize the moment to build a system of accountability in our country.” System-building wasn’t accomplished, exactly, but many obstacles—historical and contemporary—to accountability were discussed, perhaps laying a framework for future accountability.