Wow, time flies. Seems like only yesterday we gathered in downtown Denver for the first Defrag conference in the fall of 2007. Now I'm about to experience my fifth, and each has been better than the one before. A couple years ago, the venue was switched to the OMNI Interlocken Resort in nearby Broomfield, where I arrived today about noon.
Why is Defrag special? Here's how conference organizer Eric Norlin (Twitter name: @defrag) explained it in a recent blog post:
"It’s about being passionate about the learning process… that turns out to be what is different about Defrag."
Eric pointed out that there are all kinds of conferences about cloud computing, or social business, or enterprise 2.0, or mobile, or whatever. At these, "you’ll hear about benefits and case studies and tactics and feature sets. If that’s what you need for some project, great. But that’s not what you’ll get at Defrag… We’re really down to wanting to find amazing people that are passionate about something that they’re learning, and then giving them the room to tell everyone about their passion."
So that's it in a nutshell. As Eric says, "amazing ideas, amazing people, amazing conversations — and a ton of passionate obsessions around what people are pursuing. I don’t know how to explain it beyond that. It’s just different. You just won’t find it many other places (PopTech, TED, etc)." Well said, Eric, and it's been my privilege to blog or live-tweet every single Defrag event, and meet many of those amazing people.
It's Tuesday afternoon now, and I'll be starting my live blog of "Defrag 5" soon, as we begin gathering in the hotel lobby (yes, including in the famous Tap Room!). Soon after that, many attendees, myself included, will be going off to offsite dinners put on by certain sponsors. My "Cover It Live" live-blog window (below) will contain all my tweets and those of others' containing the hashtag #defragcon. The volume of tweets in the live-blog will of course greatly increase when the conference itself fires up in the morning. (Here's the entire agenda.) In addition, I'll be doing other live-blog updates that will appear within the Cover It Live window, interspersed with the entire #defragcon Twitter stream.
Allowing the entire tweet stream of the event to appear in the live-blog makes it much more interesting, I think. And, once the event closes, the whole "conversation" will then be flipped around and archived in proper chronological order, which is pretty cool for anyone who may want to refer back. There are always so many great Twitter exchanges going on during Defrag.
The link for this blog post will remain permanent for the live-blog archive. That's the big advantage for me to document a conference with this live-blogging tool, compared to just tweeting the event. (Have you tried going back to get an archive of your tweetstream for a certain day or event? Good luck.) Plus the fact that I can do posts longer than 140 characters. If you like it, let me know!