Conference panels are SO old media

At this week’s ONA convention, there are a great many panels where speakers are waxing poetic about innovation and the benefits of new media. The great irony is while most are trumpeting new media, the panels themselves mirror the old media dissemination of news: a selected group of people talk amongst themselves while the audience sits and listens (until the comments at the end). Sound familiar?

Panels are helpful in the way print newspapers are helpful: the information is presented in a respectable manner, but is better presented on the internet where links and visual examples can enhance the content.

Speakers: show us don’t tell us. If you have an example, show it on a screen, give the web address or something that the audience can take away from. Kudos to Amy Webb of Webbmedia whose “Ten Tech Trends” presentation included live examples and an online list of the discussed links that the audience could use to follow along.

Panelists can take it a step further. Take an example from Current.TV and use the screen to stream relevant tweets (, for example) not just a staid PowerPoint slide or blank screen. Anything that increases the interactivity of the session and better serves the audience.

As I mentioned earlier, the most intriguing conversations are happening not on the panels themselves, but on Twitter and the various blog posts being posted about the conference. We can’t just talk about innovation, but find ways to be innovative in the way information is presented — both online and off.

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