Bill Haenel

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 27-Feb-07

Someone at the Public Media Conference who made a presentation of some sort said something like, "I learned in college that the best way to have a truly successful presentation is to put a colon in its title."

Although when he said it, it was much funnier.

Not sure who it was, but if I remember I'll come back later and edit this post but make it look like I knew all along. For now, I'll just link to the Public Media 2007 Conference blog, just so the link shows up in their Wordpress Dashboard.

So I just got back from Boston after nearly a week in conference land. It really was very cool, and I learned a lot. I think lots of people did. There were some really great presenters and speakers, and quite a number of sessions about - say this part with an obnoxious, nasal voice - SOCIAL NETWORKING.

I fully agree that social networking and social media are certainly the big thing out there, but I think that after this point I'm going to just stop using the terms for a week.† We heard an awful lot about it while I was there and I think I just need a break from the whole social networking thing. Damn, I just said it again.

But seriously folks, the conference was fantastic. Many new friendships were made, old friendships were refreshed, new ideas were had, and some very big plans were made. I am especially excited about the voices I heard saying, let's really do this open source thing. Yes, open source. For those who didn't already know, there has been quite a bit of banter over the past couple of years, a fair bit of which was coming from li'l ol' me, about the comparison and connection between public broadcasting (now called public media, by the way) and the open source community.

My very favorite session of the conference focused on Public Broadcasting and Open Source, in fact. This session occurred on Saturday, and was actually a part of the Beyond Broadcast meeting at MIT. Bill Swersey of WNYC was our facilitator, and simply by virtue of having eaten my lunch at the cool kids' table, I helped him. I took some pretty good notes, in chalk, on a real chalkboard, while Bill added data to the conference wiki.

Doc Searls of Linux Journal and Doc Searls fame attended this session, as did Brendan Greeley from Open Source, the PRI radio show that focuses on community interaction. Both of these fine folks had some really great things to say about how we as public media pros can get in touch with our community by way of utilizing open source concepts - not just software, concepts. I love this idea. In our meeting, I cited the Wikipedia definition of Open Source, which contains a small merge recommendation at the top of the page which says, "It has been suggested that Open source culture be merged into this article or section."

I think this point is particularly significant, because it points out that open source is becoming a way of life, not just a way of coding. Likewise, I believe that Public Broadcasting is to become the media manifestation of Open Source. Again, a way of life, not just a way of broadcasting.

So public media is the future of public broadcasting. Better yet, with a colon...

Public Media: It's Not Just Public Broadcasting Anymore.

[insert clever PowerPoint presentation here]

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