What Was I Thinking?

FOWA London and Me

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I took the day off work on Tuesday, to attend the expo at FOWA London, conveniently held in Docklands. It was much smaller than the last web-related expo I went to, InternetWorld (hereafter known as IW) but, imo, much higher quality. At FOWA, everyone I spoke to was incredibly enthusiastic about showing me how their system would help solve a pressing problem of the current web. At InternetWorld… I dunno. People seemed enthusiastic but at the same time there was this general feeling of… corporate-ness? I’m not sure. The only thing I got out of it was that Pizza Hut now take online orders but hey, that’s a pretty valuable bit of knowledge in itself.

Maybe it was me – I was just exploring IW back then. This week I was actively looking for a CMS/social media solution (sort of – more on that in my next post). OTOH, I actually attended some of the talks back at IW and found them disappointing. I’m a fairly normal Internet user (I think) and they were pitching far below my level – most other attendees didn’t appear to know what blogging was and the general atmosphere reflected as much. Even the presentation from SixApart could be summarised as ‘People trust “blogs” more than press releases. Your company should have a “blog”. “Blogs” are good. The End.’

But back to FOWA – being a lowly public sector worker, I wasn’t willing to risk £245 of my own money. The website, while pretty, simply didn’t provide enough information on what would be available. Sure, there were big names up there like Matt Mullenweg, Kevin Rose, Michael Arrington, etc. But… with only the talk names available (and sometimes not even that) it just wasn’t worth risking two or three days off work and £240 that might be better spent paying off my credit card bills. If I’m going to be spending the equivalent of a new premium Xbox 360, I want to know the actual thrust of the talk, not just the trendy sales-pitch title. So, I opted for the considerably cheaper £5+VAT expo pass and single day off work.

And it was money well-spent. Met loads of keen people, saw a bunch of exciting things and got some positive feedback from the few people that I told about OneServing. FOWA’s a great place to meet people if you’re at all interested in the web.

From what I gathered, there are two movements within the web at the moment. The first is social media sites – this has been growing for a while and (unfortunately for the companies involved) is rapidly becoming saturated. There’s too much choice and it’s all getting very confusing for us poor consumers. Too many passwords and logins and places to whore out our homegrown product. I think niche topics are definitely the way to go but at the moment, the software seems more focused around the users and not enough around content management. ICBW.

The second is aggregating existing product. I thought Favourit looked pretty cool but they’re currently suffering from a major flaw – I binned my promo card and have no idea what their address was. It was something like fa.vour.it or fav.our.it.
Edit: After 20 minutes of searching, it’s fav.or.it.

It’s a more sophisticated (i.e. user-friendly) version of a feedreader. Think of it as a better-designed Technorati that also allows you to read the whole posts, rank the post or site, post and read comments from within your reader, track your conversations (I hope) and find similar posts or topics, all from the same place. I signed up at the stand so hopefully I’ll hear from them soon.

The other exciting thing is in very early stages at the moment. Remember that I had issues with Gravatar? MeeCards might be a viable alternative. While Favourit are allowing you to view and respond to everyone else’s stuff from one place, MeeCard are letting you show off all your own stuff in one place. They weren’t the only people to show something like this but they were very friendy and keen and we had a good chat, so I’m slightly more favourable towards them than Second Brain.

Finally… everyone is going blue. Stop it with the blue websites already!

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Written by Weefz

6 October, 2007 at 12:54 pm

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