MobileActive08: Mobile café – opening plenary session

Mobile Café
Allison Hewlitt

380 participants, 45 countries! 30 people in Canada two years ago, 100 in Brazil last year — huge growth!

Live citizen media at the conference: flixwagon – live streaming video; mobileresearcher – live polling; Rhodes University – photos and documenting event

It’s interesting the social differences that appear in multi-national conferences like this. The opening of the talk was very American — a number of analogies of the speaker’s role at the conference (she’s the conference facilitator, which is obviously hard at a conference of this size)! This is light-hearted, making-everyone-feel-at-ease diversions through safaris, symphonies, etc., meta-talk discussing what she needs to talk about. But in South Africa, I think, many would think it’s unnecessary padding, and be keen to get to the point. One country’s good practise (and it is well done) is another’s poor form — and at a conference like this, what can one do?

My problem is what to go to! There are many, many tracks.

Now it’s time for some ice breakers! Lots of chaos expected as we have to move between tables. And we’re being invited to draw on the tables, which have paper tablecloths.

Interesting conversations, good meeting people. Everyone agrees that we need to work together, make open and common platforms, and reduce the cost of services. Also some very interesting projects I’ll touch on in my next post.