inVerge conference 2007

Today was the first day of the inVerge 2007 conference in Portland, Oregon (US). I'm kicking off the day tomorrow...

After one day of speeches about the wonders of "convergence" and "interactivity" and how it all is changing everything we take for granted in the media industry, some observations:

- the Internet ("the"?) is still framed as "wild", "unruly", "chaotic", and (my favorite) a "sea of confusion". And that after more than 40 years of existence! VERY cool.

- there still seem to be people out there who think it is really important to note that not so long ago we only had about 50-100 media channels available to us, and today it is millions (if you cant all websites). REALLY? Tell me more...

- and, you know what? Audiences do not just consume, they also DO something with their media! YES! They actually TALK about media with each other. They exchange tips (on what to watch), links (where to find stuff), and "stuff" (...).

The opening speaker, MIT's Joshua Green, did his best to get through all of this, dismiss it, and move on to greener pastures. Alas, all of the speakers after him felt the need to go back to everything that came BEFORE "convergence culture".

Luckily, nobody talked about WHY any of this is happening - you know, why are people participating in viral ad campaigns, why are people pouring every inch of their lives onto online social networks (and why people BLOG). So that will be what I will focus on tomorrow morning.

I'll go "academic" on their ass, throwing out shit on post-materialism, liquid modernity, and the difference between pragmatism and absolutism. Heh heh heh.

Probably I will have to make the point that NONE of this is necessarily new. In fact: the age of mass media and centralized control over brand messages was an anomaly (As Clay Shirky has pointed out). Yet the cultural and technological context of participation has changed.

That will move some paper for sure. Cannot wait.