Monday, 27 April 2009

MW2009 #2 - one week on

Finally returned back to the UK a week after MW2009 after a holiday with my partner in Washington DC and then Boston which was lovely.

Before returning to work tomorrow, I wanted to take the time to write a second post about what I got out of MW2009 now that I've had time to read the proceedings and generally reflect on everything. It follows on from my previous post: Thoughts, ideas and plans from MW2009.

1. Think it's interesting to reflect on individual threads and themes that I saw in the conference as well as the 'intended' themes laid out in the proceedings. For me the key themes were:
  • A series of different perspectives and tips on project managing web projects: re-designs, e-Learning projects, games etc
  • The power of reaching existing web (or other similar) communities through museum web activity.

2. This reaching existing communities theme was evident particularly in the papers on the WolfQuest game (which reached out to an existing gaming community rather than the traditional museum audience) and on the Alternate Reality Game by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (which tapped into an existing community of 'hardcore gamers').

A more unexpected (but really nice one) came across from one of our wiki panel - the Quilt Index Wiki experienced difficulties, as others also did, with the community they wanted to reach lacking confidence with the technology, but where they had the advantage was that the quilting community are already familiar with the notion of collaboratively building something and that helped.

I suppose in a way this is also one of the powerful opportunities that the mini workshop on iTunes U demonstrated - getting Museum content out to an existing community looking for learning material on iTunes.

3. Lots of people have been reflecting on the explosion of Twitter activity at MW2009. I signed up to Twitter during and as a direct result of the conference. I think for me it allowed me to have a voice and to join in a conversation that can too often seem like a closed shop where the same names come up over and over again (rather as @clairey_ross and @miaridge were discussing about the UK Museums Computer Group listserv on Twitter last night).

I don't pretend that I had anything massively inspired to say either on Twitter, anymore than I do on the MCG list, but participating, and having people start to know me through that, gives me a confidence to feel that I can be part of those conversations. It sort of makes everything feel more democratic and inclusive.

4. Quick list of the sessions I got the most out of (in no particular order) and that I'd recommend reading the papers of (where there are papers) it you couldn't attend:

Again, a bit stream of consciousness but I wanted to record everything while I was still buzzing from the enthusiasm and new ideas.

Overall I got loads out of the conference not just because of the sessions that I went to but also because of the people I met, the conversations I had, the new networks we started to build and overall the time it gave me to take a step back from work and think about the bigger picture.



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