I’m back from CALI and even now, a few days later I still have trouble wrapping my head around what I’ve learned. Sarah and Meg enjoyed the conference. A lot of the other cool kids were there also. If I didn’t link to you it doesn’t mean I don’t care though. I just wanted to write down some of my impressions.
1. CALI is a friendly and accessible conference
I met some online friends, met some old friends, and met some new ones. Really there were too many to name. Anyone who thinks that the crowd at CALI would be unwelcoming is wrong. Even when there were some disagreements in a few sessions, between participants, discussions were respectful and professional the way they should be. In addition, you don’t have to be a hard core coder/techie to get something from the conference. There were sessions at all skill levels, and that met the interests of anyone involved in legal instruction. If you think you might feel intimidated, don’t. This is an accessible conference.
2. Your online friends are not who you think they are
This is probably poor phrasing. I am not accusing anyone of being misleading by their online presence. Rather I think the depth of knowledge you gain from meeting someone face to face or in “meat space” as Sarah says, gives new dimensions to the person you’d only previously met online. What you may think someone is like from reading their blog posts, tweets, or watching their facebook page may never fully prepare you for the complex person you meet live. Of course it does get a little more complicated. There may be times when people have not accurately represented themselves one way or another. Thankfully I didn’t run into that.
3. Presenting can be nerve wracking, rewarding, fun, and a learning experience
I can be a tough critic on myself. For the presentation Tom Boone and I gave I got very nervous. More nervous than usual. I’m not sure if it was the new title on my card, presenting in front of my online friends for the first time, or something else, but something felt a little off. But I got through it and received some great feedback. But I also look at everything as a learning experience. I look forward to seeing the video, analyzing myself and how I prepared and see if how I can improve in the future.
But looking back at it was also fun. Tom and I were able to incorporate the twitter stream for the conference into the presentation by putting up a screen showing the tweets behind us. This proved distracting as I saw people react to the tweets. What I should have done is interact with the twitter feed. But the potential is there to create an amazing presentation experience. This is particularly true because CALI was live streaming the event. Interacting with twitters watching live from afar would have been very cool. I would like to explore how these tools can be incorporated into future presentations. Speaking of twitter…
4. Twitter is an amazing communication tool
I still hear people put Twitter down occasionally, but it really is a powerful tool. The amount, quality, and depth of the tweeting at this conference was unbelievable. It added a whole new layer to the whole conference. The ability to send and receive information, wholly relevant to a session, with other session attendees added real value to each session. This is why I think Twitter could help make presentations even more powerful.
5. People involved in legal information are doing some amazing things
Whether it’s the Cornell LII, Justia, or the ScheduAALL, people involved in legal information and instruction are doing some amazing things. We live in a time of incredible opportunity. This is a chance for us to try something new. Whether it’s spurning wexis for some of the free legal information options out there, or taking a chance on a new way of doing something, we should take what we’ve learned and see how we can put it to good use. I look forward to trying to do that.