Archive for technology

Gathering 2.0

Does anyone out there remember PlaNetwork? It was a fabulously geeky conference that had a good run back a few years ago now. I loved its combination of high geekery and values-based idealism. I remember meeting someone through pre-event communications that I collaborated with to build a beautiful altar/centerpiece in the middle of the conference room, and dancing afterwards to music I'd never heard before under a projected screen of Electric Sheep images. It was that kind of "happening". Definitely a bit "hippie" and not slick by any means, but deeply sophisticated on many levels, not least technologically, and extremely satsifying.

There's another event that has sprung up in the San Francisco bay area in the last couple of years called Wisdom 2.0, and I've been watching it with great anticipation.

Given the fabulously descriptive name, I imagined Wisdom2.0 would be something related to my own passion for a conscious use of the internet but I have been a little dissapointed to see it turn out what appears to be a fairly standard conference format in its first two years of existence, albeit with a rather wonderful mix of spiritual and technology gurus.

The disappointing thing is that these leading lights seem to be giving siloed talks (nothing about how spirituality might inform technology, or the two might be employed together, for example) in the same old way (talking heads on a stage – nice heads and some nice talks, but still up there on a stage with a passive audience, just listening).

Those of you who know me, know I've been Director of Communications for the World Café for the last seven years, which has been the "go to" model for transformative conferences with real engagement; where the wisdom in the room is revealed among us. I even started weDialogue, my virtual events hosting business (for webinars, conferences, conversations) using the World Café model. So you can imagine why I have been alert, waiting for them to "get it" (they did support a "unconference " at last year's event where World Café was used, and from all reports it was well received, so I'm hopeful).

In fact, feedback from the 2012 event seems to have shaken things up a bit, and it appears we're in for something different this year. The guiding question they're promoting for 2013 is "How do we live with greater presence, meaning, and purpose in the age of technology?", which is a big step closer to something I'm really interested in. I understand they're also piloting space for interactive breakout sessions based on shared interests (birds-of-a-feather groups), and creating cohort groups for attendees to work within throughout the conference. Maybe not quite as elegant as World Cafe, but definitely movement in the right direction.

So I've bought my ticket, and am feeling excited – the anticipation is definitely back and I'm optimistic. Is anyone else going? I would love to meet up and see you there. And if you were there in 2011 or 2012, I'd be curious to hear about your experience. What was it like? Have I missed the point? What did you find most valuable? 

BlogHer08 – Day Two: ShutterSisters

It turns out that some of the coolest people I’ve met here at BlogHer are part of a collective of women photographers called Shutter Sisters, so when I saw they were hosting a photo shoot in the streets of San Francisco, I decided to drop the other session options and go for the fresh air.

It was great to be outside, even though the skies are uncommonly grey right now, and fun to explore the city from another’s point of view (our group had a local tour guide who took us on a quick loop through Chinatown). Here’s some of what I saw out there:






Physics Online

UC Berkeley is now broadcasting physics Professor Richard A. Muller’s lecture series Physics for Future Presidents and distributing it and other taped lectures through Google Video as part of a larger project Google has initiated in partnership with Universities all over the country. These inspiriting & informative video/audio files are available free to everyone who wants to learn, whoever they are, and wherever they are in the world.

A quick search on Google Video shows Distorted Morality, a video of a talk Noam Chomsky recently gave at Harvard about America’s ‘war on terror’.

To me, these examples really exemplify the wonderful purpose to which the
internet can be put. THIS is why it’s so important to keep the internet
free from commercial control, and a source of content from and for the people of the world. If you want to know more about this subject, here are some UTube videos on Net Neutrality.


I was on Zaadz – an
interactive platform dedicated to fostering collective spiritual
conversation – last night and found myself wondering about the value of these forums… 

Zaadz is an innovative idea, the only public forum of its size and popularity (they’ve had a lot of media support from friends at What is Enlightenment magazine and their colleagues at Ken Wilbur’s Integral Institute). They are dedicated to ideological principles I share and have a spiritual (rather than religious) viewpoint. These alone make it worthy of my support.

If that isn’t enough, I found a wonderful new ‘design’ discussion group
there, where I was turned on to this inspiring video by industrial designer Ross Lovegrove. The video (taped at the 2006 TED conference – I’d LOVE to attend TED
one year, but haven’t yet managed to pony up the $4,400 it takes to do
so) is brilliant; absolutely inspiring and informative. Another Zaadz design post turned me on to a design blog I really liked, too, one that will excite me creatively and help inform my work in solid, practical ways.

Ideological solidarity and these kinds of creative ‘finds’ should be ample justification for my participation on forums like Zaadz, and there would be no question here if I had more ‘free’ time in my life, but as it is I’m afraid I often don’t give myself that time. This, even though I work alone and know that this kind interaction with others offers essential creative/intellectual stimulation. I clearly benefit from my engagement with these forums (including the wonderful array of relevant blogs) – why don’t I make more time for the unexpected discoveries and opportunities for conversation & connection available to me out here in cyberspace?

Perhaps because there are just SO MANY of them, and I tend to be so gluttonous in my absorbtion of information and ideas that I don’t have any sense of sobriety once I get started.

What about you? Do any of you reading this blog participate in one or more online conversations somewhere (this is a trick question since if
you respond, you are part of an online conversation! :-)? If do, how do you make the time and necessary distinctions, and what do you find truly valuable in the experience?