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Social Web Practitioners: Where to Sharpen Your Mind in Early ’08

Ever since my first SXSWi trip in 06, I’ve known that going to the right conferences — events that bring together the people who are pushing forward at breakneck speed the social-web areas of practice I’m interested in — is arguably the most important action I can take to keep getting better at what I do.

There are way, way too many good conferences for web workers for anyone — even Scoble — to attend them all. And it’s not as easy as you might think to find out about the really, really good ones (arrgh!). A lot of events put together really good lists of speakers (great for you guys who’re getting the hefty speaker fees, and certainly I enjoy sitting for great speakers/panels), but are more about making money from corporate attendees. (I suppose one can usually deduce that an event falls in this category if the badge fee is significantly more than, say, $500.) The ones I look for are all about gathering in one building a lot of very smart people who really need to sit down over a beer and share with each other what they’re working on. SXSWi, for example, is a four-day gab-fest, and the energy I’ve felt coming out of Austin has fueled months of intense extension of my thinking on what works/doesn’t work in social design, where things are trending, what technologies to look at, etc. What other events are like that?

Well, thank you Brian Oberkirch for neatly threading through the maze and picking out a whole series of events that will have significant impact on the direction of the industry this year:

Third Tuesday, Vancouver:  I’ll be talking about branding & the social Web.  I will try to make it appear as though I know what I am talking about.

Web Directions North:  zOMG.  So excited for this.  Somehow I slipped onto the docket.  You should come just to hear Matt Webb.

Customer Service is the New Marketing.  A one-day summit put on by the whiz kids at Satisfaction.  I have the enviable task of winding up a panel with Matt Mullenweg, Tara Hunt, Gina Bianchini & Patti Roll and watching where they go.  Zoom, zoom.

Barcamp NOLA:  More on this later, but should be fun.

FOWA Miami:  you know you want to.  I will co MC with Tantek and also yammer about portable social networks.  Plus, I’m doing a workshop on unmarketing.

SXSW:  More unmarketing fun with a panel of all my pals.

Social Computing Summit:  putting together a panel on the challenges of the open social Web.

IA Summit:  sitting on xian’s panel on presence.   Conducting ethnographic research on IAs as well.  I will walk among them.

An Event Apart:  In New Orleans!  Heavens to Mergatroid.  That is cool.  I put a Jedi Mind Trick on Zeldman and will be talking to my hometown peeps.

WebVisions:  Another visit to the anarchists in the great NW.  Powells, here I come.

I’ve got my peepers set on SXSW and FOWA Miami. At minimum. Plus NetSquared, I sincerely hope.

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