Gnomedex 10 day 2, the afternoon

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And here's the last day:

  • 1:30 p.m. - Melissa Pierce (@melissapierce): Maker of the film Life in Perpetual Beta, funding crowd-sourced from people on Twitter and elsewhere, then via Kickstarter. How do we process information coming into our brains? How does text become context? And are we now in a contextual revolution? Revolutions include the American, French, Industrial, Russian, Chinese, Iranian. Even postal mail revolutionized the world. So did vaccines. Paper cups. Email. Twitter. The one thing that's creating our contextual revolution is access: to information, to ideas, to other people. We went to the Moon using protractors and slide rules, now we hardly cross the street without a GPS. Every click is a creative act.
  • 2:00 p.m. - Violet Blue (@violetblue): Time for some sex talk. We can't make stable or sustainable online social media models for sexuality. Culture and media talk about sex in increasingly problematic ways: either as a bad and scary thing, or as something that doesn't exist. Abstinence education caused spikes in STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and more, for instance. A sex-positive approach is descriptive, rather than proscriptive, and applies principles of harm reduction to sexuality. Understand what consent is, how safe sex works, and so on. Started podcasting in 2005, first female podcaster—but there was a backlash when iTunes started podcast support, and Violet was the top podcast. Another example of building a sex-positive community and then having the rug pulled out. If you want to see where things are most fragile, and where people are most hypocritical, start talking about sex. In social media now, we're swimming through an ocean of bullshit and snake oil. Facebook is Wal-Mart for your communities. Why do Terms of Service vaguely exclude sex, and get used to shut down sex talk online? Do 500 million Facebook users never have sex? We need a harm reduction approach to social media. Gatekeepers shouldn't decide what's okay and what's not okay to talk about. Sexuality is not a drug, not an illegal substance. It's something that keeps us connected to our bodies. It's beautiful, and gatekeepers can't keep telling us it's not.
  • 2:25 p.m. - Jason Barger: "Step Back From the Baggage Claim." Traveled to seven cities in seven days without leaving any airport or plane. How do we choose to move with each other in the world? Do we all crowd against the baggage claim, consumed in our own entitlement? Small moments of behaving better can change the world in aggregate. 90% of our interactions with others is negative, 80% of our internal dialogue is also negative. How do we reframe that, giving ourselves space to think about why we do what we do, and what we want to put out into the world?
  • 3:00 p.m. - Steven Fisher and Michael Dougherty: Browncoats Redemption is a fan-made Serenity full-length followup film for charity. I missed most of this talk, so that's all I'll say.
  • 3:45 p.m. - Tim Hwang (@timhwang): Playing databall: online influence and the future of social hacking, Analytics, how things move, how online communities work. Founder of ROFLCon, worked at the Berkman Center, Web Ecology Project, the Awesome Foundation. Inspired by Moneyball: as in social media, strategies were vague and value was hard to assess. Social wargaming: get teams to compete trying to influence a group of people online, who don't know they're part of the game. What gives you online credibility? How can you figure it out by analyzing data about people's online behaviour. Figuring out how to manipulate that behaviour and then doing it on a large scale with bots could make interesting things happen. And people can also defend against those attempted influences. Another rise of the quants. Could even use such analysis to hack the legal system, putting certain inputs into lower courts to maximize the chance of reaching a certain high court and attaining a certain result. But what are the ethical implications? Sleeps well at night—for now—knowing that the vast majority of bots online are extremely stupid.
  • 4:30 p.m. - Matt Inman (The Oatmeal): The Oatmeal is about a year old, and it's doing really well. Started with a dating site, viral-marketed with blog posts, comments, etc. that strike at the heart of geekdom. Quizzes worked even better ("How many cannibals could my body feed?"), with result badges that linked back to the dating site. Next moved on to comics, fake Zombie dating sites, etc. And they made the dating site outrank Match.com, eHarmony, etc. The Oatmeal followed after that, as a site just for the funny stuff. The formula: articulate a gripe, pick things everyone can relate to, create stuff that's easy to digest, create an infographic, talk about memes and current events, and incite an emotion.
  • 5:00 p.m. - Seattle Wine Gal: How to taste wine. Look for clarity, smell it, then taste it. Only take it as seriously as you want. Take a medium-sized sip, hold it in your mouth, suck in a bit of air through pursed lips, swish it around, then swallow. Think about what the "finish" is like to you. Avoid wearing scents. You don't need a new glass for each pour. You don't need to drink everything. Slow down, ask questions, feel free to try again.

Chris's entire family came up onstage to look back on 10 years of Gnomedex, featuring his parents speaking about what it's accomplished and where we can go from here. And then I sang a little song, and Chris thanked everyone, and we had a party with trapezes. The end.

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