Thursday, September 29, 2005
On the same spectacularly beautiful weekend as the peace march, the Love Parade, the Blues Festival at Fort Mason, and the Folsom Street Fair, a conference for self-publishers on the web was being held at the Swedish American Hall on Market Street near Church.
The event, called Webzine (click here for more info) was held annually for four years during the dot-com boom, supposedly as a geek/hip antidote to the "dot-com dicks," as the graffiti on Zeitgeist's front door once put it.
The event shut down after 2001 but has been revived this year, since even though most of the dot-com marketing jerks have moved back to New York after going through a lot of venture capital...
...the actual work of creating the internet-empowered future continues in the Bay Area without a hitch.
In fact, more has probably been accomplished since the hypesters left.
The Swedish American Hall itself was amazing on its own.
There were four floors of odd little rooms, most of them with lots of natural light.
The main hall was impressive with its skylights and beamed ceilings.
The stage was set up with huge Nordic King chairs which made everybody feel like Lily Tomlin's Ernestine when we sat in them for our panels. Pictured on the left, by the way, is one of the organizers, Eddie Codel, a genuinely amiable soul who has what is commonly acknowledged as the coolest website name in San Francisco, www.eddie.com.
The M.C. for the afternoon was an interesting looking author named Charlie Anders.
To get to his/her website, click here.
The panel on which I was invited to speak was called "Neighborhood Blogging" and my fellow panelists were all much more technically savvy than me, creating complex community bulletin boards on their blogs, some with sophisticated search engines.
The gent on the right was Andy Bowser from Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and he had a funny, lively brain. His community blog is here. Sitting next to him is Mike Lin, who has a Potrero Hill neighborhood blog that's one of the most charming I've ever seen. Click here to check it out.
The geeky characters attending were a sweet bunch, and they really were an antidote to the usual dot-com-a-go-go atmosphere attending so many of these events. Their pretty Webzine T-shirts, for instance, were being sold for $5. My only request is that the next edition be held during a cold, rainy month because nobody wanted to be inside on a perfect September weekend, particularly when there were so many interesting things to do outside.