Popular Posts

Monday, December 11, 2006

Reporter's Log: Le Web conference

A blogging conference means laptops are at the readyLe Web 3, a conference for bloggers and supporters of internet media developments, is taking place in Paris, France.
Robin Hamman, a journalist for BBC English Regions and co-ordinator of the BBC Blogs Network, will be filing regular updates from the conference.
1630 PARIS (1530 GMT)
Loïc Le Meur, the organiser of Le Web, explained earlier today that one of the interesting things about the conference is the way it was marketed.
Instead of sending out e-mails, posting brochures, contacting trade magazines and advertising, the organisers of Le Web used the tools used by their audience and simply blogged it. Word spread fast and, as soon as registration was closed, Le Meur started fielding calls from people who hadn't acted fast enough to register.
Yesterday he got the most unexpected of those calls, from the office of Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel and joint winner (with Yithak Rabin and Yasser Arafat) of the Nobel Peace prize.
The big names are here this year too
Quick guide: Blogs
He's in Paris and wanted to know if he could come along and give a presentation. Le Meur, who still sounded a bit shocked when recanting the story, says he initially thought it might be fun to say the conference was full up but decided against it and told Peres's assistant that he was more than welcome to come.
As another conference goer said to me a few minutes ago, Peres isn't exactly a name most people would associate with the internet. So what is Peres going to talk about?
About 5% of the presenters listed on the conference blog come from Israel, long a hotbed of technology and software development.
Perhaps it doesn't really matter if Peres talks about the internet or not.
There is widespread consensus that the most interesting part of the day thus far was the one given by Hans Rosling, a Swedish Professor of International Health who didn't even mention the web during his presentation about the stereotypes people have when discussing income, health, and child-birth rates in different countries to their own.
Maybe Peres, who turned 83 in August, will break down some of our age stereotypes by demonstrating that really does understand the whole interenet thing.
1530 PARIS (1430 GMT)
Dave Sifry from Technorati, a blog tracking service, just completed his "state of the blogosphere" address.

Dave Siffry is an influential figure in the blogosphere
No surprises here. As usual, the number of blogs has continued to grow phenomenally over the third quarter of the year and Technorati is now tracking around 60 million blogs worldwide.
Sifry doesn't know when the growth in blogging will slow down and says, "I'd love to able to tell you. It obviously has to slow down at some point.
"I mean, there are only so many human beings on the planet. We've been seeing about 100,000 new blogs being created world wide every day.
"To give you an idea, that's one new blog being created somewhere in the world every single day."
Sifry always gives a spirited presentation and did his best to woo French bloggers by explaining that although he knows there are lots of great French blogs, at the moment his service has a difficult time finding and tracking them.
With Technorati being the blog content search tool of choice for many bloggers, this essentially means that French blog content is not just under-represented in his figures, but also largely invisible outside the French speaking world.
This may very well explain why, for the conference this size, Le Web 3 has thus far appeared to have a fairly small footprint in the English language blogosphere.
1200 PARIS (1100 GMT)
A lot of people are grumbling about here on the floor that there is no web at Le Web which is why, if you were planning on following the conference via its blog buzz, you might find yourself left in the dark.
Like many technology and media conferences, free wi-fi is being provided for attendees. In the past this has never worked very well for me - when too many people try to connect and download content, or because of the nature of this particular conference to upload it, wi-fi routers and networks tend to groan or fall over from the strain.
The same is happening here today, with internet access intermittent, showering us with good bandwidth one moment and the next moment, nothing. It might not sound like a big deal to many readers, but for this audience, not having the ability to post stuff to your blogs is akin to being locked in a room without being told when you're to be let out.
The choice is difficult - sit and watch the conference or head to the back in search of internet access.
With 1,000 people attending from 37 countries, Le Web 3 is almost certainly the biggest conference of its type anywhere in Europe.
Like many of the technologies that are being discussed here, and the markets for them, the two-day conference itself is in transition.
In his opening address, the organiser, Loïc Le Meur from Six Apart, a company which provides a number of consumer blogging platforms including Typepad, admitted that the conference had drifted from its roots as a conference for and about blogging.
Now it's all a bit flash for mere bloggers with corporate sponsors in abundance, a slickly prepared venue with theatre-size screens projecting multi-camera video and presentations, croissants and latte served on metal trays and an exhibition area set aside for more than 50 start-ups, mostly European, to demonstrate - and perhaps sell - their wares.
The big names are here this year too. Not just from the worlds of blogging and technology like Technorati, TechCrunch, Mozilla, and Skype, but also representatives from companies that have already become household names such as Yahoo, Nokia, Google, Orange, Lastminute.com.
Over the next two days, I'll be speaking with bloggers, geeks, the start-ups, venture capitalists and internet heavy-hitters to find out what motivated them to join 1,000 other people in Paris for Le Web 3.
Robin Hamman is also

No comments:

My Google Profile