Heading to the National Conference for Media Reform – 2008

NCMR 2008

Staring this Friday, I will be attending the three-day National Conference for Media Reform at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

A very general premise of this conference is to gather thousands of journalists, activists, lawmakers, and just about anyone who wants to listen and talk about making media better, how the Internet media has come into play, and where the media is today and where it can be going. It’s pretty exciting actually as there will be 300 presenters and 3,000 attendees.

This is a far cry from Internet and Search Marketing conferences that many of us have probably attended. No presenter here is going to be talking about anchor text, rankings (I hate that word), cost per conversion (I like that phrase), Quality Score, Technorati, MyBlogLog, Sphinn, Pay-Per-Call, or the three letter acronyms that many of us drool over; SEO, PPC, and ROI.

Matt Cutts won’t be at this conference. Neither will Danny Sullivan. However, Dan Rather, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Moyers will all be there presenting either sessions or keynotes.

There will be many topics ranging from media policy and activism to alternative journalism (blogging) and the future of interactive media.

What will be talked about in certain sessions and is the biggest reason why I’m attending is blogging, user-generated media, social media on the Web, Net Neutrality (that’s huge in my book), Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media opportunities.

What I really like is that these presenters won’t be talking about how to incorporate social media with search marketing. They will be talking about their own respective media industries and how they use social media. I can guarantee I’ll be walking out of these sessions thinking “why didn’t I think of that?!”. Learning more about services you offer from different perspectives is a fantastic way to understand them from the client’s point of view.

A few must-see sessions:

Newspapers: Not Dead Yet? – It’s no big surprise that print newspapers have been in decline. Who’s to blame? The Internet, corporate greed, or mismanagement? I’m pretty low key but something tells me I’ll have some audience input during the Q & A’s.

Online and Offline: Connecting the Grassroots and the Netroots – This will probably be a political session and I would bet that there will be an Obama success story in there. I can absolutely see taking some of these concepts and applying it to local search. After all, local search is about getting people away from their computer (netroots) and to a physical, business door (grassroots).

Future of the Internet: Open, Neutral, Mobile and Ubiquitous – A few readers of this blog know how much of a proponent of Net Neutrality I am and don’t believe big telco and cable giants should be able to screw small businesses who have success online by “offering” multi-tiered Internet access solutions, especially when this thought is backed by an out of touch Senator from Alaska who thinks that the Internet is a series of tubes.

Organizing for Change on the Social Web – This one will most likely be political too, but they will be specifically talking about the effects of social media opportunities such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube. I’m really looking forward to get a non-search marketing view on how these opportunities have worked. That’s when the light bulbs really start shining over my noggin.

Regarding the social Web, the conference itself and organizers, Freepress, aren’t slouches. If you look at the conference home page, you’ll notice that they encourage users to tag the site on social sites such as Flickr or YouTube with the tag “NCMR2008”, which I have tagged on this entry. They also have a horizontal Flickr stream on the top of the site. If you’re on Facebook, you can also see their own Facebook NCMR page.

A few side notes:

It normally wouldn’t make since to go to a conference like this, but the Minneapolis Convention Center is a whopping 10 blocks from me and the cost for the whole three days is under 200 bucks! That’s a no-brainer in my book. Search marketing conferences are close to 2k.

There will be plenty of bed-wetting elephants and donkeys at the conference. I’m pretty sure I won’t be schmoozing with them. I’m there to learn, not to bitch. 😉

I won’t be doing any liveblogging, but will hopefully give nightly updates of the events each day. Monday will come around too soon so I better get the posts in while I have time.

Are any of you attending? If so, let’s hook up and chat. Or, if you have any questions you’d like answered, let me know and I will certainly do my best to accommodate.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll think of the readers here while I’m geeking out for the entire time. 🙂

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3 Responses to Heading to the National Conference for Media Reform – 2008

  1. Wardo says:

    See you there Paul!

  2. Hi Paul,

    Just came across your blog. I’m at NCMR and following the net neutrality panels too. Hope to meet you there!

  3. Paul says:

    Way cool! I’m the bald dude in the front row far right geekin out on my laptop.

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