Loren Feldman, yes THAT guy who does videos with puppets and who is more likely to spew forth honest curse word filled content then most people on the Internet hosted the first ever Audience Conference in New York City this past week. You never heard of The Audience Conference? Are you wondering why it wasn't trending on Twitter or didn't see lots of Facebook updates and photos on Flickr from it?
The reason being this was not a traditional conference like what you are thinking about. In fact it was better than many I've been too lately. It was held in the Hudson Theater. A beautiful little theater just off of Times Square with ornate balconies and red velvet seats.
Each performer was introduced by Loren, dressed to the nines, and there was no pause during each of the three acts of the day.
Plus, what other conference have you been to where the day ends with amazing poetry from Robert Bruce and three unique musical performances that left everyone smiling and cheering for more. Look for some of that music on a future Accident Hash.
Ground rules for the day were laid out the beginning and they were not negotiable. We were an audience for the day and Loren was the ringmaster. We were there to enjoy what each person brought to the stage. Laptops were not allowed. Twittering would be punishable. Everything was being photographed and video taped so there was no reason for us to worry about it. (Pained me not to take photos for sure since it was such a great venue)
We were all given a program and a notebook. This wasn't something to be shared with the world, but enjoyed by the smart and savvy group gathered on this Friday.
From the moment I first heard about the conference I wanted to go. I liked that it wanted to focus on the audience first and foremost. This is something we talk a lot about at Campfire and firmly believe in so we wanted to attend to be around like-minded individuals, but also to see what was being said. Plus, I personally wanted to support Loren, who has got to be one of the most misunderstood guys online.
I asked him why he felt he needed to organize this event and he told me, "it needed to be done because I couldn't take all the narcissism and navel gazing going on at other conferences in all over social media."
Any self-proclaimed social media expert would have been lost here. There was no schwag, no slides and no wifi. Instead there was a tight, solid and content filled program, a constant supply of coffee and food and plenty of time for networking with all the attendees. I also liked that unlike some conferences I've been to recently the presenters were part of the audience as well and didn't swoop in, take the stage and then disappear. I hate when that happens.
There was nothing confirmed for another one of these events, but I'm holding out hope that it does. I know I took part in something very special and unlike anything I have felt since attending the very first Podcamp in Boston in or the first Portable Media Expo back in the day. Being part of the audience has never felt better.
Thank you Loren.
Photo Credits: Steve Hall