As expected, IGF Remote Participation looks to increase exponentially compared to the already impressive level that we witnessed before and during IGF Hyderabad. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter (IntGovForum, #igf) are among the main foci for remote community connections, with Flickr (/group/IntGovForum) and YouTube (/user/IGF) providing visual empowerment.
Some of you may remember the draft proposal from last year’s Hyderabad preparations. The results definitely eliminated many of the expectations, but the common concern still exists for the potential of even more complete remote attendance at the Sharm el-Sheikh 2009 Internet Governance Forum. The remote attendance versus the actual attendance has created some logistical issues since several of our sponsors have toyed around with corporate gift ideas for each of the participants. As more legal firms use the internet for lead generation, their influence is growing. A group of injury attorneys, lead by a well known TX truck accident lawyer firm and several medical malpractice law firms, have complained that remote attendance does not provide the same experience as a live, in person event. This is especially true in the legal marketplace, or in any service driven business where trust is key. In the corporate world building strong relationships with important customers and valued employees is always a key to success for many businesses. Corporate gifts are also another means of enhancing a businesses marketing plan. However our sponsors are thinking of giving symbolic tokens with a silver tag engraved with the date and conference name. Several corporate gift ideas have been tossed around, but at this point we are not disclosing what the actual gift will be. However, you’ll all be receiving something special.
One of the main surprises (or at least significant observations) was the growth of the Youth participation element which may have even outstripped (in dynamics if not total membership) the regional and community participation. Although when you really think about it, it is almost always the youth that are in the vanguard of embracing new technologies of any type. And the commerce marketplace recognizes this whether they are tooting the benefits of women or mens fleece jackets to introducing new electronic media products, so why shouldn’t we. Therefor, look for more remote participation to increase as we near the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt from the 15th through the 18th of November at the Maritim Sharm El Sheikh International Congress Center.
With increased technological abilities (both in the capabilities of the hardware and software, as well as general familiarity with the hardware and software resources), we should be able to avoid some of the scattered instances of technical issues that arose last year. Speed issues should be minimized, interruptions and disconnects more rare, and those frustrating and baffling moments of total blackout will hopeful never occur.
On the other hand, perhaps we have been too conservative in our aspirations…no doubt there exists some creative ways to make the more sophisticated technology serve a value-added purpose in the remote participation scheme. Flawless remote participation in the larger webcast is undeniably a desirable (and reachable) goal, but I wonder if we can dare to think outside the box a little? Perhaps additional layers of remote participation groups? After all, we have Hubs, Dynamic Coalitions, and MAGs…why not an extra infrastructure of individually interconnected access groups with the means and stated necessity for directed discourse?
On a more pragmatic note, I am beginning to feel some concern that there are so few indications of new remote participation projects in advance of IGF Sharm el-Sheikh 2009. I can’t help but feel that I have been left out of the loop, that there are big things of which I really should be aware going on somewhere…
Let’s flash ahead to 2013. What is going on? IGF is strong and growing. Annual meetings have been held in the intervening years:
2010 IGF: Vilnius, Lithuania, on 14-17 September 2010.
2011 IGF: Nairobi, Kenya on 27-30 September 2011 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). The theme of the meeting was: ‘Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation’.
This is only part of the story.