Howard Rheingold session at New York City conference
November 16th, 2009

Last week Howard Rheingold was in New York City to participate in The Internet as a Playground and Factory conference at the New School. I attended the session on Participation Literacy and Digital Labor in which Howard and Smart Mobber Paul Hartzog were panelists, and where I took the above picture. dave1It shows Howard (l) and Dave Parry (r), an Emerging Media Professor at UT Dallas who is known on Twitter as academicdave.

The session lasted almost three hours, without a break. In what was equipped as an uber tech classroom, nonetheless the chairs were bolted to the floor in class-faces-teacher pattern. Howard battled against this paralysis by describing it and moving within the room. At the beginning, the audience was told not to expect to use the full time, yet the size crowd and the networking of ideas built until the discussion was finally called to a halt in overtime.

It seems to me two phenomena were at work here. First, people really do greatly enjoy and benefit from discourse with human beings in person, and at least in some ways more so than virtually. Second, the subject matter of this session is emergent, developing, and down right fascinating to think about and discuss. When conference proceedings are available, we will put a link to them on SmartMobs.

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