Today I met with MrBabyMan, the top Digger in the world. I had never met another top Digger in person, although I talk with many of them online frequently.
Truth be told, I had always thought he was a stay-at-home father -- how else could he find all the time to Digg so much? I was wrong. Mr.Baby is well employed.
It was nice finally getting a chance to meet a fellow social bookmarker in the flesh. There is only so much effective communication you can do online. Nothing can replace the face-to-face meeting. We chatted, swapped stories and speculated about all the different things we imagine will happen in the future of social news.
An idea I've tossed around with some of the other Netscape Scouts (soon to be working for Propeller), Diggers and Viners is a social bookmarkers conference. It already has a nice acronym: SBC08 (Social Bookmarker's Conference 08). That acronym could also stand for Social Bookmarking Camp, if we want to stay closer to the unconference world of BarCamp, PodCamp, etc.
Why shouldn't social bookmarkers have their own conference? If the Trekkie's can have conventions, why can't we? Organizing tools are free and easy to use online.
Just say "SBC" a few times.
It rolls right off the tongue.
Don't you want to go to it already?
It would be a chance for people from every social bookmarking site -- from Reddit and Del.icio.us to the obscure (but tasty) sites like NewsTrust to the new startups like Brijit.com, to come together, shake hands, network a little and have a few laughs.
I don't imagine we'd have too many serious issues to tackle -- but if we wanted we could try and be really ambitious: A Bill of Rights for Social Bookmarkers -- not unlike the Social Media Bill of Rights, or we could use it as an excuse to hang out and get drunk later in the night. It's all up for grabs. I imagine it would be an unconference anyways - the agenda would be somewhat adhoc. Nothing is set is stone at this point.
Today SBC08 is really just an idea I've tossed around while talking with other people. If we could get Revision Three, Propeller, Reddit and Del.ici.us and a few others to split the bill, it seems possible that we could rent a hotel lobby and get some food for the event.
But before anybody actually comes to any of these companies asking for money to throw a social bookmarking convention, it makes sense to test the waters first. Am I way off on this? Is a social bookmarkers conference anti-thetical to the community? Am I a jerk for even proposing it?
Right now I'm organizing a conference on citizen journalism in New York. When that is done, if there is enough positive chatter about SBC08, then I'll try to make it happen. Once the logistics of money are handled it would just be a matter of picking a host city and spreading the word.
So here I am, testing the waters. If this is something you'd be interested in, let me know by commenting either on this blog post or whatever social news site you found this post on (just make sure I can reach you, so that I can keep you up to date on progress). If it gets enough comments it'll be easier to come to the social news companies to ask for sponsorship.
If you have any suggestions -- all are welcome.
NOTE: If this does get traction, I'll probably blog its progress here (or I'll get another URL if I'm feeling giddy). Either way -- issues will be openly discussed, decisions like host city will be made in the public and will take into account public input, and I hope the general process, if it does happen, will be a pleasurable experience to organize. But don't expect this conference to happen overnight. It's called SBC2008 for a reason. I'd expect it to be in the spring of next year -- assuming we are able to find sponsors for it early in 2008, when I'll hopefully be able to put more time into this.
NOTE 2: Full disclosure - I am a Netscap Scout -- soon to be working for Propeller.com. This post/idea is my own and does not represent my employer or whatever the hell I'm supposed to write to make sure they don't get mad at me.