Extending the audience

I have been thinking about Bono recently. One of the pivotal events in U2 and recent media history, IMHO, was during the Live Aid concert many years ago.

U2's performance established them as a pre-eminent live group for the first time — something for which they would eventually become superstars. Bono jumped off the stage to the crowd and danced with a girl. Because of this, the band only played 2 songs, the 3rd, Pride (In The Name Of Love) had to be ditched. [Live Aid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
I reckon that Bono was astute enough to realize that he was playing for a massive global TV audience. The audience in the stadium might not see what he was doing, but he was playing to the greatly extended audience that was watching his every move from around the world.

Now, there are very few conferences for which an extended audience is delivered in this way. However, in the last year or so we are seeing a new type of extended audience. Many conferences are being extensively blogged.

I have just returned from Computers in Libraries (the first I have been to, at least since it has been run by Information Today. I was at one many years ago when it was a Meckler event.)

In recent years, I do not often go to the large commercial conferences in our space, and unfortunately, I could only attend some of CIL as I had another meeting at the same time.

A couple of things were very interesting. First, the extent to which the topics being discussed by library bloggers, and library bloggers themselves, featured on the program. I wondered did this reflect some inflection point in the library communications ecosystem?

The second was more personally interesting. I spoke at the event. I focused more on some of the recent work in OCLC Research than I normally would, but I thought that it was a good opportunity to show some cool stuff and relate it to more general discussion of Web 2.0 [ppt here]. I was very pleased with questions afterwards and with the kind blog coverage. It did make me think about audience.

Increasingly, it seems to me, at events like this, the speaker will address a local audience, but will also address an extended audiencec mediated by the bloggers in the audience. This sets up a new dynamic, and it will be interesting to watch how face to face meetings continue to co-evolve with the network conversation.

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