There's nowhere like the nation's capital for turning out nonprofiteers in record numbers, and NTC had the scale of, like, Battlestar Galactica or something: a minor metropolis afloat in the stars. The number 1,200 was murmured, which would be enough bodies to outvote Vatican City. People talked about going the whole 2-3 days without the serendipitous run-in with someone they were hoping to meet.
Almost any thematic takeaway for the NTC would be a plausible one, simply because there were just so many different ways to look into the kaleidoscope
My personal version of the theme -- having hit sessions on screencasting, mobile, and radio both online and off -- was multi-channel engagement. It feels to me that the sector is straining against this membrane, looking for the next ah-ha moment, the next breakout into open country. Can we get Internet everywhere? Can we mate it with television, telephones, voice, thought, shoe leather? Can the multiplying tools and gizmos combine and connect
? Can it get from niftiness and even effectiveness to really game-changing?
We catch glimmers. A citizen video flips control of the Senate
-- hybridized data sets present the occasional but isolated dazzling perspective
-- rumors circulate of flash mobs on distant shores. The Twitter froth, I suspect, emerges fundamentally from its hint of gathering blogging, texting and social networking into a bridge tenuously connecting meatspace and cyberspace identities.
It -- whatever it
is -- just isn't quite there yet, and some days it seems it's on the next train after Godot. But the hope for the Next Big Thing might be one of those cases of generals fighting the last war.
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