≡ Menu

BlogWalk Seattle: conference attention modes

These are more “notes to myself” from the discussions at BlogWalk Seattle on the nature of (un)conferences; not a coherent text.

The world is changing:

  • opportunity to connect with and to meet far away people
  • being there (physically or online) costs more (energy, time, money) – also because now we can connect with those far away

Getting together f2f:

  • critical mass is important to make sure interesting things happen
  • you want to be sure in that to get into what it takes to be there
  • it’s more about opportunities, than problem, which is always difficult to justify
  • so, what are the attractors powerful enough to attract “right crowd”?
    • shared goal / topic
    • strong connections with others
    • authority trusted enough to rely that the previous two will be there

Events attention models

Two extremes:

  • centralised/authority – “star performers” who can hold attention of big groups with finely crafted messages and engaging interaction style
  • distributed/community – “open space” – designed so everyone can attract as much attention as it’s worth in a particular group

Backchanneling – something that happens during an event designed with the centralised model in mind, but without “star performers” who can hold attention – so it’s diverted into other channels. Those “other channels” would be legitimate conversations in the “open space” case, but they are not in the centralised model – hence authority challenges and resistance.


  • Centralised attention events are easier to plan
  • Distributed attention events are challenging – how to make sure that those who have something to say have an audience?
    • Enough attractors (critical mass)
    • Visibility of attractors (knowing whom to talk/listen to)
    • Movement around (being there at the right moment)

Technology actually enables a lot of that 🙂


Technorati: , ,

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2005/09/07.html#a1658; comments are here.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.