Poetic Truths

I was feeling that I had slightly overdone the negativity in my last post, so I decided to check out the reports on Gwen Bell‘s “Chicks who Click 09” conference, which took place last week. I figured that a gender-based discussion of virtual interaction was bound to be quite interesting, and I was sure that I could find something positive to say about it.

The list of speakers wasn’t too promising however; mostly marketing people and motivational gurus rather than serious academics. Then there was the fact that one whole day out of a two day meeting was devoted to skiing and networking, which suggested that the organisers were perhaps aiming for a less intellectually rigorous ambience.

The formal proceedings of the meeting haven’t been published yet, so all I have to go on is the tweets exchanged by the participants. The medium doesn’t really lend itself to deep and meaningful discussion, but even so the conversations were pretty vacuous.

Some of the comments were almost archetypal in their pseudo-profundity, like “We’re moving from an era of fear-based branding to one of hope, thanks to @barackobama.” It’s like there’s a formula they teach you in Inspirational Writing 101; [Fatuous Generalisation]+[Imaginary Transition]*[Zeitgeisty Buzzword]=[Comment that sounds Meaningful so long as you don’t think about it for more than two seconds].

There was one contribution that I thought made some sort of sense, though perhaps not in the way its author intended. “Twitter is your canary in the coal mine” wrote zenawiest, and I couldn’t agree more. When the “Social Media” industry curls up and dies I’ll know that it’s time to sell my Google shares.

Well, I did start this post with the best of intentions, but I’ve ended up serving another dish of cheerless cynicism, with a side helping of intellectual snobbery and a schadenfreude garnish. I should maybe take up Twittering, it might help me lighten up a bit.

[Update: Read a more balanced review of the event from someone who was actually there.]

Here’s today’s tune. I had thought that the lyrics would be a suitably obscure reference to the content of the post, but of course several bloggers got there before me. All their blogs seem to be defunct, one, poignantly, after just one post; I think that this one is the best.

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