Posted by email@example.com, 6/22/06 at 12:02:34 PM.
At BloggerCon, in addition to the Discussion Leader of each session, we also have two monitors.
There are two monitors for each session, each of them "owns" a wireless mike, and moves around the room partially at the direction of the discussion leader, and partially in response to requests from others in the room. When in doubt, the monitor follows the directions of the DL, they're in charge of the room and the conversation.
But that's not all that the monitors do. They also help the AV people if they need help, and help enforce the guidelines. Esp if someone is being commercial, the monitor may express an objection. Sometimes the DL doesn't catch these things, and unfortunately sometimes the DLs don't prepare well enough and don't understand the guidelines. It's not good, but it has happened, and the conference needs to be protected, so in these cases the monitors act as a second line of defense.
Remember it's a user's conference, that's the primary guideline. When it starts being a tech industry conference, with priests talking over users' heads, or trying to pitch products, it's gotta stop, quickly and gracefully, maybe even with a little humor.
Originally, I thought I'd assign people to be monitors at sessions with subjects I thought they'd care about, or have some expertise in, but then I realized this was a problem, because monitors don't have speaking roles (except in the circumstances outlined above). So I assigned people to sessions on a random basis. I actually wrote a script to generate the names. It's kind of amazing how good a job the random script did.
National Anthem -- Rex Hammock, Jory Des Jardins.
Tools -- Lisa Williams, Robert Cox.
Citizen Journalism -- Paolo Valdemarin, Lance Knobel.
Users in Charge -- Robert Cox, Rex Hammock.
Standards for Users -- Ponzi Indharasophang, Jory Des Jardins.
Emotional Life -- Marc Canter, Sylvia Paull.
Post-Game Show -- Lisa Williams, Lisa Stone.
Half-Time Show -- Paolo Valdemarin, Lisa Stone.
How to Make Money -- Lance Knobel, Marc Canter.
Building Bridges -- Ponzi Indharasophang, Paolo Valdemarin.
2008 Election -- Jory Des Jardins, Ponzi Indharasophang.
Video Blogging -- Robert Cox, Lisa Williams.
Core Values -- Lisa Stone, Lance Knobel.
Fat Man Sings -- Rex Hammock, Sylvia Paull.
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