I’ve written before about the debate over conferences versus “unconferences” — which Dave Winer and Jeff Jarvis and some others (including the whole FooCamp and BarCamp gang) feel is a better way of organizing things. As I’ve said before, I think there are benefits to both approaches, whether it’s the free and self-organizing approach or the more structured, charge-a-fee approach. And with our mesh conference in Toronto on May 15th and 16th, we’re trying to do a little of both.
So our keynotes — with Om Malik, Tara Hunt, Paul Kedrosky, Steve Rubel and Michael Geist — are not going to be traditional keynotes; instead, they will be more like interactive interviews, with (hopefully) lots of audience participation (and Tara is planning to make hers even more interactive, which I can hardly wait to experience). The panels are also going to be unconventional, with a lot more participation and a “No PowerPoint” rule in force. We’ve also got an “unconference room,” which will be available for anyone to host a demo or workshop or whatever they wish.
And, as Stuart MacDonald writes on the mesh blog and Rob Hyndman writes on his, we’ve got a new wiki set up (thanks to David Crow and the TorCamp gang) that is open for whatever kind of ideas you might have — about what you want to do in the unconference room, about where to stay when you’re in Toronto, about where the good Wi-Fi hotspots are, or whatever. Giddyup. Mark Evans has more, and so does Mike McDerment of SecondSite.