Want to Help Socialize OpenWorld?

OpenWorld is quickly approaching; it’s September 21-25, in case you don’t already know that.

You’ll recall that last year, we used Twitter quite a lot to socialize, meetup and broadcast the sessions. We used Craig Cmehil‘s eventtrack side project to consolidate the tweets and other social clutter (videos, photos, etc.) into a single stream of OpenWorld goodness.

It worked really well, and since then, the Oracle community on Twitter has grown by tweets and bounds. In fact, I’m noticed that wiki page I started with about 30 names in January now has 107.

Not only has the community grown, but the tools available to us have improved, e.g. FriendFeed and Fire Eagle weren’t public during last year’s conference. Eddie has already created an OpenWorld room on FriendFeed to aggregate the social clutter. Not a member yet? You should be.

Beyond aggregation, which is a huge problem for a conference the size of OpenWorld (40,000+ attendees), what else is important?

I sat down with Eddie and Matt virtually yesterday to talk about what we could do this year that would be: a) useful and b) kickass cool. Beyond coolness, here’s a quick hitlist of what we thought the “requirements” are for both attendees and people who won’t be able to make it:

  • Sharing information live from sessions
  • Socializing with other attendees
  • Organizing ad hoc meetups
  • Broadcasting session attendance
  • Collecting questions for specific session
  • Attending a session virtually
  • Listening to conference chatter

I’m especially interested in the socializing and organizing pieces, since my primary reason for attending OpenWorld, beyond speaking, is to network and meet people. As an employee, I can get product information anytime I want, but I don’t often get a chance to hang with the community.

Oh, and yes, I’ll be sharing the stage with Paul in our session in case you want to come by and heckle me. I heart hecklers. Now, if only I could get a hotel room in the city and skip the 30 minute drive up from the airport hotel where I’m currently installed. Ideas?

Anyway, as I’ve said before, I think combining a location service like Fire Eagle with Twitter has great potential for OpenWorld, which is spread over several blocks in downtown San Francisco. Example from last year, we serendipitously met Lou Springer via Twitter at a random bar with wi-fi. A couple people, including Paul, had a bit of trouble finding us. Broadcasting our location on a map sure would have been helpful.

Fire Eagle would help with this, and I had hoped to use Firebot, a simple command-based, Fire Eagle/Twitter bot. Unfortunately, it’s been dead for months, possibly another side-project killed by real work. Anyway, it was awesome.

This is a common problem, i.e. not enough time, that Eddie, Matt and I all share. During our conversation, the ideas flowed, but everything came back to time, or lack thereof.

So, we need your help. I want to crowdsource how we socialize OpenWorld. Can you help with any of these ares?

Requirements: I covered the ones we came up with, but is that all of them? Can you think of other requirements for a social OpenWorld?

Ideas: Beyond Eddie’s FriendFeed room and further aggregation of RSS feeds, what other services can we use and what will they do for us? One key point to remember, not everyone has an iPhone or other smartphone, so dependable network access may be an issue.

Hacker Help: Want to build something, you rockstar you? Matt says he might have a host you can use. You know you want it.

Sound off in comments. I know there are ideas floating out there.




  1. > Now, if only I could get a hotel room in the city and skip the 30 minute drive
    > up from the airport hotel where I’m currently installed. Ideas?

    check back at the OOW housing page *often*. a co-worker clued me in to a better hotel yesterday, and I managed to get moved from near the airport to hotel just a couple of km from Moscone… But it was the *only* open room at the hotel…

    I was contemplating writing a screen-scraper that'd check for better rooms every five minutes and notify me if it found anything – but (as is so often the case) the old-fashioned approach won first.

  2. Nice tip. Now, if only I knew where the housing page was . . .

    Maybe socializing OpenWorld should focus on getting me a better hotel room.

  3. I already know a few couches I could surf in the Bay Area, but I think I'm a bit too old for that. Anyway, this isn't about finding me a hotel in SF.

    Someone get us on track please!

  4. you should chat with the aqualogic/BEA folks…

    At the “participate 08” conference in Chicago, they GAVE AWAY some iPod touches to the audience, pre-installed with some social apps to help folks get connected. It also allowed people to give feedback on a presentation during the talk, to say whether or not they liked a specific feature. Pretty cool…

    Its a tad late for open world… but what Oracle REALLY needs is a decent mobile tie-in to their online schedule builder…

    scratch that… first get a decent schedule builder… THEN make it social.

  5. I've long said that I need to write a conference planning and management app. Every single one I've seen is a pile. I don't think I've ever seen a schedule builder well executed.

    I know that Jake has talked to Chris Bucchere in the past about the app he built for Participate, he also used it recently for Ruby Nation here in DC. They are launching it as a platform available at: http://www.nowgetsocial.com/

    So what are some good ideas? Google released a new version of gears tonight that is location based but it too doesn't get down to a low enough level for a busy conference hall.

    I haven't even logged into the schedule builder yet, I wonder how hard it would be to scrape the data? Take that, merge it up with OraTweet, have the presenters claim their sessions and send live updates to them during their presentation. If they are brave enough I'm sure I could crank out a small Air app to have the messages pop up on the screen as they presented. Then again, I don't know that I would trust some of the people around here to put messages live on my screen during a presentation.

  6. Yup, as Matt mentions, I talked to Chris a few months ago, but more about his app than the iPod giveaway. Mix, although not as targeted at conferences, does most of the same stuff.

    Because I'm not in Marketing (remember?), I can't help with device giveaways. However, it does seem a bit pricey to give 40,000 anythings away.

  7. The problem is that we rely on people to update whatever we use (Twitter) to collect the information. OraTweet is a non-issue, since it's inside our firewall, but it would be a nice scale test for Noel.

    I'm OK with the FF room, if that's all we have time to do. Maybe we should have started this thread earlier . . .

  8. Thanks dude. I think this train may be stuck at the station though.

    I've added your link to the Oracle OpenWorld room on Friendfeed.

  9. Though i'm not much of a developer. i can chip in with whatever is needed at openworld . Video broadcasting doesnt work on non jail broken iphones . There will be plenty of twitter updates coming thru (I'm sensing a twitter crash ).

  10. Thanks for the offer. I doubt we'll crash Twitter, but if we did, that would be a feather in the 2.0 cap wouldn't it.

  11. If anyone is still working on stuff I have a beta to Zeep Mobile which allows SMS integration into apps. It wouldn't be too hard to come up with an app that takes the CSV from your OOW schedule and 20 minutes before one of your sessions sends you a msg about what the title is and where you're supposed to be going.

    I'd write it but my 4th week of 80+ hour weeks isn't going to let that happen.

  12. Sounds cool. I think we're going to have to go with OOW room plus Twitter, no geo-location. Time is short and so are resources. Not so bad, we tried.

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