I was one of the Judges for the 2012 AV Technology Magazine Technology End-User Awards.
I was one of the Judges for the 2012 AV Technology Magazine Technology End-User Awards.
Some pictures from today’s New York AV Roadshow & Roundtable.
Last fall I had been asked if I would be interested in appearing on the AV Week show as a guest panelist by its founder Tim Albright (@tdalbright). I met Tim online and later connected with him via LinkedIn. My interaction with Tim was usually brief. Typically we met prior to the recording and bounced around some ideas and show topics via email. Most of our interaction was limited to messages, tweets and emails. Fifteen minutes prior to the show we would chat as part of a sound check and introductions. Once the show started it was as if the guest panelist had just spent the last month touring the world together on small bus. The conversation in the podcast was natural and when you place AV people in a room the stories and opinions typically fly faster than fists at Jersey shore nite club. Prior to InfoComm, Tim had invited me to stop by the show’s Friday live broadcast.
Situated between the main entrance, exhibit halls, eateries and the 2nd floor escalators I guess you can say that AV Nation was at the “Center of it all”. As a whole the area outside of the main exhibit hall was a virtual beehive of activity. Apart from the show attendees and the RAVE Pubs team providing show coverage the Podcast area itself was a magnet for the curious. Groups of curious onlookers stopped and huddled around to watch the live broadcasts. Just In case you were wondering this was not limited to any particular demographic since both “New” and “Old school” AV people were drawn to it. The combined Buzz of the live broadcast and the activity of the RAVE team really drew the crowds in.
As I walked up to the location I saw Tim and exchanged a hand wave and smile from a distance as not to interrupt. I recognized a few others from their online activity and went over to say hi. Saying hi to one person rolled into 3 then 4 then more. The first person I saw was George Tucker (@tuckertues) who was working the sound for the panel. George has been active in social media for a bunch of years and I had worked with George on the AV week panel previously. George’s handshake led to Spotting Matt Scott (@OmegaAudioVideo) which led to meeting Adrian Boyd (@The_AV_CAD_Guy) both of whom I had met on podcasts prior to InfoComm. Standing next to Adrian was Steve Greenblatt (@stevegreenblatt) ,who is from NJ, but never met in person. Steve is also a frequent podcast panelist with AV Nation and a contributor to Publications. When I turned to see the broadcast panel I meet Phil Cordell (@The_AV_Pro) who I’ve only seen on YouTube. His AV videos on YouTube made him easily recognizable. After meeting to Phil I turn and meet Rebeca Villareale (@beckyreale). Rebecca had come over to introduce herself, again only from the online communities did I know these people. All of us came from different parts of the country except for Becky and Steve who were local to me and Matt who is from a different country all together. Our common bond here was more than just a presence on twitter. We all come from different aspects of AV. Some were from Manufacturers, Integrators, Residential, Programmers, Independents or consultants. Regardless of what we did or where we came from the conversation was great and we traded many of the same War stories .
Collectively we have all appeared on podcast where we were given a platform to speak out about what we love or hate about AV. In general I think the small sampling of AV professionals I mentioned are doing their part to promote the industry and shape its direction going forward. Don’t get me wrong here…this is nothing new to our industry. What is new are the platforms available to us to share our views and opinions. That is the secret ingredient to social media and how it works. The podcast location at InfoComm became the became the central hub for the #AVtweeps to gather. The term #AVtweeps, for those who may not know, is the twitter hash tag created by Johnny Mota (@JMOTA3) for the AV community on Twitter. The handshakes and hellos in front of the AV nation podcast continued the evolution of the InfoComm 2012 for me. Apart from the introductions I finally sensed the show had a pulse that was not just marketing related. AV had become social.
For the first time, in my experience, the show had a voice through the podcast. Tim and AV Nation team took the show from floor to bench tech in Topeka. As an industry we have been doing a good job of covering the show both online and in print for many years but the live element had been missing. The podcasts streamed live delivering not only new product information but the voices and opinions of the show attendees and exhibitors. To hear typical product hype from Market Managers is one thing, but to hear it from one a show attendee or tech manager is refreshing. Needless to say that the podcast did an excellent job of making the show more personal, the listener is essentially sitting alongside the guest panel hearing the news as it happens. I personally could appreciate a live broadcast as someone who did not attend the show last year. This was a great Step forward for the show and I can only imagine where it can go from here.
To be continued…
RED BAND LAUNCHED!
What makes a community?
“What’s in a name that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
Romeo and Juliet – The Bard
If you recall your Shakespeare the quote above is spoken by Juliet upon finding that her true love is from the Montague’s, the one family she as a Capulet is sworn to destroy. The full scene is a meditation on the uselessness of judging by labels – love is where you find it.
Is our community by any other name the same but different? In the past few days there has been a call to move a good deal of industry-centric Twitter posts from the grouping #avtweeps to #proav by a few industry publications. I found this intriguing, the call for an additional industry hashtag is a good sign of growing involvement on the social platform. What piqued my interest more was the request to use the new #ProAV in place of and excluding the existing #avtweeps. I was further moved into beard stroking ponderance when several folks Direct Messaged me on Twitter curious if I knew who the catalysts were and why they seemed to be so disparaging of the group.
What is in a name?
The group AVTweeps, a derivation of the slang Peeps for friends and a playful nod to the twitter lingo of Tweet for a message, was established by AV integrators looking for a way to group their conversations in and about the industry in one common place about four years ago. It has grown to be the single largest collective of AV related folks on Twitter. The group did debate other hastag names such as #hometheater, #avpros #AVcontrol and the like but it was decided that the names were too limiting and did not express the wide scope of work we do. We also investigated using #AV and #AVPro but these were already in use by the Adult Video folks- otherwise known as the *Porn* industry. While we know full well that many of the systems we install are used for viewing such or are installed in the producers of such material -the association seemed a bit too much by half.
I like the #ProAV hastag but like stated above I have avoided it as it seemed a bit too exclusive. In way of demonstrating what I mean by this let me describe how I define Pro AV. I have been lucky enough to have had careers in Recording Engineering, (back when it was a studio not a high end ‘project studio’), Broadcast and Live Event Staging. Nearly all of these folks, from the camera operators, lighting techs/ designers, FOH audio and associated crew would not view what integrators install as Pro gear or a Pro Audio industry. No question integrators are considered professionals in a related Audio Visual industry but the definition of pro is of a different order. I have -to be clear- met few, if any really, Pro AV folks who disparage the integrator market beyond the use of the moniker.
Being Exclusive does has its benefits in some cases -I agree. When one wants to reach a narrow audience on specific topics like #tonys or #altmusic avoiding a broader audience provides a very focused conversation. Speaking of the Alt designator, some you older set reading this will recall that early Usnet Newsgroups used the alt prefix to narrow down topic specificity. Usnets were a pre World Wide Web internet discussion system and were the precursor to chat boards and forums. The Alt(dot) hierarchy though less organized was helpful as the main groups could become unwieldy when searching for say, a specific play. Rather than go to the humanities.plays one could subscribe to the Alt.Plays.shakespeare. Very handy indeed. Today this methodology is still very useful for Brands looking to reach potential clients; rather than cast a wide net they use carefully selected keywords to show up in searches and twitter communities.
This is what I thought was going on with the desire to separate from the larger group of AV professionals into one that focused on the Live Event and Broadcast industry. Yet, this does not seem to be the case. In fact many of the leading posts are from publications which are not technically in the Pro AV market (at least by the definition I gave previously).
So I ask here
I posed this question to the folks who voiced the desire to separate into their own state why such a move would be warranted. Was it that the uninitiated had a hard time finding the group? A single day following a manufacturer would have exposed them to the tag.
Was saving three letters really that urgent a need?
I am sure there is a good answer and being a devotee of all things AV and Social I was curious why the sociological rift. As you are reading this here I am sure you know the response I received – Crickets.
So I ask here: Why the desire to create a chasm? Is there an untoward association #avtweeps has or is it a desire to distinguish a presence in a different space.
All the above are legitimate reasons and I curry no favor other than I have ‘lived’ in the tweeps column on my tweetdeck since its inception. Heck I think the #proav hastag has some great potential, but I do not go rushing toward new shiny baubles just because they are reflecting the sunlight particularly nicely at a specific hour. If I did I would be living in a Park Avenue apartment because of the way the light looks on Manhattanhenge, (still a valid reason to do so, as long as one is aware of what the other 362 days look like).
Why this post is here
This is why I have posted this on Chris Neto’s AV Shout platform, to speak from a neutral territory. Here no one need be concerned about driving traffic to a ‘competitors’ site by commenting.
So tell me I am screwy for laboring over this, Tell my to *expletive deleted* off and mind my own business but tell me how a name does not smell as sweet.
When asked to recap his career and life Tucker responded “Me? I am just a figment of your collective imagination and let me tell you that living this life has taught me one thing- you people are twisted Mofos” You can follow Tucker on Twitter @Tuckertues or his personal blog on tech and tech culture at http://tuckerstuesday.typepad.com
How would Infocomm 2012 become personal?
How can a 140 character blurb translate into personal introductions?
How many more awkward introductions will I see before the end of the convention?
All of these questions ran through my head. So here I am standing at the top of the stairs on the Las Vegas Convention Center and wondering what just happened. Looking into the crowds I could now see avatars in the crowds and not the big blue alien kind. Just like those movies where people see ghosts walking among the living I too saw things differently now. Talk about an eye-opening.
Honestly I never connected the people reading my articles as the same people attending the show. Though I have written online for publications I do not see myself as a writer that anyone would follow or as someone who would be recognized. Social media combined with an online presence changed my Infocomm experience into a social media experience. The Social Media experience is the moment when I first realize that someone, for example, from the Faro Islands knows who I am and looks forward to my posts. By the way I checked where the Faro Islands were before I used it as an example and thanks for the Follow. What started as a way to better understand the AV industry by interacting with other industry people turned into my “Hey I know you” moment.
I quickly decided to pack away my notes & schedules and set off to see how far of a reach does the online community extend. The rest of the day I spent bobbing and weaving in and out of booths. It was great to meet many of the online AV Tweeps in person. The reactions were priceless. Some recognized each other immediately, others were surprised and some reacted how I would have expected with a “who the hell are you ” brow scrunch. It’s amazing the reaction a simple “hi” would incite. Regardless of the reaction the end result was a great conversation and a new perspective into some of the products at the show.
Walking into the various booths and recognizing someone who I traded tweets was very new to me. Especially when they got past their own awkward moment and realized who’s the guy with the hat. The interaction changed from sales mode to more personal “hey let me show this amazing new product that I love”. Though many probably didn’t realize it, the change from “corporate speak” to a more personal chat really makes a difference. The more personal and passionate talk about how they personally felt about a particular product or service really hits home. In many ways I see employees truly connecting with their product and what their contribution was to the development of the product. People spoke honestly about the hard work put in by teams of people to make product “x” happen. You can see their face light up when talking about it. Everyone had “Joe in R&D” that comes out in the stories of how hard they worked to bring this product to market. I have to say that I truly enjoyed being shown products in this new way
After visiting a few more booths I headed out to the lobby to grab a soda at the food court. On my way there I stopped over to the AV Nation podcast location, who were in the middle of a live show. At first I was hesitant since I did not want to disrupt a live broadcast but I decided to go over to listen in on the show. What happened next would take the show for me to another level.
To be continued…
Part 1 can be found HERE
Looking to put a “Band” of Guest Bloggers together. Interested?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out John Sciacca great post on installation nightmares & horror story for ResidentialSystems.com