Over a twitter yesterday, James Governor lamented about the lack of official web 2.0 happenings a conference where we’re all talking about mash-ups, integrating communities and mass enablement. IBM’s youTube Channel has a single 1 minute video from day one, theres a twitter account created of the name “Impact2008“* which has no activity. Heck, even IBM’s official blog hasn’t been updated past day one.
(*unknown who it was created by, but as far as I know there is no official twitter).
It would have been cool to say, allow participants to ask questions in keynote Q&A over twitter as well as the microphone. Maybe presenters could offer informal times to talk to eager listeners once the session is over. How about if IBM aggregated the Impact ‘blogosphere’ and gave us a single place to look for what people are saying about the conference? What if I’d like to try and track down Steve Mills for a two minute interview. Where is he? There’s six thousand people walking around. If I want any of those things, it’s completely dependent on my own social network to make it happen. If I don’t happen to have a person in my list then it’s left to fate and circumstance if we’ll ever meet. Once again, we need IBM to take the first steps to make this happen. It’s great that I now follow the guys from RedMonk and various people who tagged #impact2008, but it’s still just the voices of the people ‘in the dark’ (non-IBM). Without IBM, we can talk all we want about changes that are needed but there’s no buy in from the sole required enabler. The idea that IBM can show up at predetermined times on the calendar, fire-hose the community with information and then disappear are long dead.
It seems like the conference itself is actually an accurate reflection of the state of the SOA community as a whole. You’ve got a large mass of people who would do a great job collaborating with each other and networking, but no catalyst to make it happen. Instead of being energized as part of a broader community, you get isolated and bored. I think I see that effect in how the number of articles/twitters/blogs about Impact 2008 has dropped off significantly from the first day to the third. Even the #impact2008 tag has one message on it over the last 13 hours.
In the SOA Jam, about 80% of the ideas relate to social networks and how to build communities but we’re already failing on a very small scale with people in the same physical location! How can we expect to snap our fingers and create a vibrant self-sustaining community on the large if we can’t do it on the small?