Annenberg Hyperlinking Conference Wrap-Up

Unfortunately, I had to leave the conference early to get back to the office. I had intended to stay for the whole thing, but you know how things go sometimes... First of all, I wanted to thank Joe Turow for inviting me to what was one of the most interesting panels I've participated in in recent memory.

I was on the first panel of the morning, which was moderated by Jay Rosen. Eric Picard from Microsoft and Tony Gentile from Healthline rounded out the panel.

First of all, let me say it was a huge pleasure, but it was also a bit intimidating, I confess. Everytime I looked out into the crowd, I saw throngs of folks like Jeff Jarvis and David Weinberger tapping away on their laptops, either blogging or posting to the IRC that Weinberger set up. I joked that we should project the IRC conversation on the wall behind the panel, which got a laugh.

Among my bolder statements of the day were that some evil did come from Google's turning inbound links into a currency. There's a lot of noise in the channel, including blog and trackback spam and other ways that automated systems try to stuff the ballot box (so to speak), and this takes away from the conversation. As an example, I mentioned how Ann Handley recently e-mailed me about all the blog spam she gets on MarketingProfs. And I pointed out that for every hour Ann spends keeping the channel clear (deleting blog spam, etc.), that's one more hour she can't spend posting content and performing her other job duties. I didn't get the sense that people thought this was a big problem that detracted from the conversation (like I do). I got some disagreement from Jeff Jarvis, a guy who I respect immensely. He said Google's attribution of value to links was a terrific thing and that we will deal with the spam. I agreed with his disagreement, clarifying that I didn't mean to imply that Google's move was 100% evil, but that some bad did come along with the good.

I stuck around until midday, but then had to leave to take care of some stuff at the office. I hope I'll be invited back if there's another one.