real live bloggers spotted at le web 3 (no really!)
Originally uploaded by robinhamman.
This conference just keeps getting stranger. As we left the previous session for lunch, I spotted some people busy building a wooden booth with windows at the back of the hall.
Now that we’ve come back, and got past the half dozen men in suits with radio earbuds not so discreetly in their ears, we could see that the booth now contains a large audio mixing board and microphones for live translation and there are hundreds of headsets stacked in front of the booth. And thus the transformation from Les Blogs to Le Web takes on another, perhaps it’s last, transformation of this conference into Le Politique.
Members of the security detail aren’t the only new comers to the conference – there are lots of mainstream media folk lingering at the back, quite a few new TV camera’s and lots of attractive women – this is France – carrying around clipboards and chatting busily into their mobiles. There’s also a few people walking up and down the aisles asking, in French, if anyone needs the English translation.
This is all in preparation of a visit from Nicolas Sarkozy in a few minutes time. He’ll be the second French presidential hopeful to address us today, the first being François Bayrou who seemed to grasp the whole blog thing. But all this previously unplanned political speechmaking is riling some of the conference goers, particular the people from the UK I spoke with at lunch, who, as they point out, parted with good money to be “subjected” to this all day. It’s not just the British who are moaning.
I’m sitting next to Erlend Debast and Bart De Waele from Belgium. I asked Bart if he paid to come. The response was a quiet “yeh” which dripped with the disappointment of someone who feels they’ve been ripped off. Erlend, sitting beside him, has started an unofficial Le Web blog, written in Dutch, to cover the conference. I guess he was really excited to come but, now he’s so disappointed that he didn’t feel up to putting it into words and, instead, do what bloggers do and linked to someone else who’d said it, the blog of another Belgian sitting a few seats down our row where it says, in English, “for some reason, this “web” conference has been transformed into a political rally”.
Not only have speakers been pushed back or forgotten, but the whole place is giddy with an awkward feeling of apprehension as we await the may who could, if Le Meur has his way, be the next leader of France.
One can’t help but notice that Sarkozy’s blog is based on the blogging software provided by the company that Le Meur works for, Six Apart. As previously mentioned in this column, Le Meur has also publicly endorsed Sarkozy on his website.
Why am I writing so much about politicians? Because that, rather than the internet, blogging, web 2.0 and all the themes we came here for, is what this conference now seems to be all about.