Saving the Best for Last – Day Three of NXNEi

It’s Monday morning and I’m just now going through all my notes from day 3 of NXNEi. My editor probably wanted this article yesterday  but NXNE in general kind of took over my life. Now that things have calmed down I’m going to give you a run down of what I saw and experienced.

Registration Saturday morning was quick and easy, which was good since I had slept in and was in a generally grumpy mood. I got an awesome grab bag with my pass that included some energy drinks, a bunch of advertising material, a CD of local music and more. Lets get to the good stuff though:

Session 1: 

The first session I attended was “The New Volunteers: Social Media and Emergencies.” This panel discussed the future of volunteerism. Volunteering these days isn’t just about cleaning up after a disaster. Nerds, bloggers, social media experts and more are all needed to contribute to saving lives. Teams of people can work around the world to create apps and technologies that can save thousands of lives.

One of the speakers found out about a disaster via Twitter. They then confirmed it through various means and started a Skype conversation to begin organizing help. By that night the Skype conversation had hundreds of people on it all working towards the greater good.

Session 2:

Being a writer I just HAD to check out: “Longform Storytelling in the Digital Age.” This session was hosted by non-other than Evan Ratliff. That name may not sound too familiar but he’s the guy who attempted to ‘disappear’ for a month. He basically tried to make it impossible for people to find him via the internet and technology. A $5000 prize was offered to whomever could find him.

All that is interesting but what does that have to do with longform story telling? You see, the article he wrote about that experiment was 9000 words long. It was published in Wired magazine. That is an unheard of length in the magazine industry. The recent trend has been for shorter and shorter articles. This is because peoples attention spans have diminished because of cellphones and the internet (citation needed.)

His thesis was basically that this is not true at all. Many webmasters will tell you that longer articles tend to bring in way more traffic than the short snippets we love so much. Even the New York Times has found that it’s in depth investigative reports get WAY more page views than anything else it publishes. 

I want to go into more detail about what he had to say but I’ve got lots more from NXNEi to talk about. I got his card after the session so I’ll try to get an interview booked for soon and do an indepth report on it.

Session 3:

City sonic is a music project based here in Toronto that really revolutionized mobile video. The concept is simple: videos of local artists at their favourite venues. These artists include Rush, The Bare Naked Ladies and more.

Basically you download the City Sonic app here. Then as you walk around the city it might pop up with a random video to watch. This video will be about 6 or 7 minutes long and feature a Canadian artist… talking about the venue you are standing directly in front of. Venues include Sneaky Dees, The Rex, Maple Leaf Gardens and more.

There really are amazing opportunities out there when it comes to mobile video. The creativity of this idea just shows you that we are only just beginning to leverage the insane amount of power phones have these days.

I went to a few other sessions but to be honest those were the most memorable. Later that night I rocked out to Men Without Hats and then Devo. I must say, it was a good Saturday.