Amusement of Expectations: Preparing for LeWeb 2009

December 7, 2009 in Traveling Geeks | Comments (0)


We all do it.
As each technological innovation enters our sphere, we become ever so quickly accustomed to whatever feature, functionality or convenience it proffers. This isn’t exactly revolutionary comment, and as detailed by Louis CK on the Conan O’Brien show, when considered through a lens not muddied by bits and bytes, it’s pretty humorous.
That didn’t stop me from issuing a rather hefty harumph when I boarded the first of my two flights to Paris Saturday morning to make my way to Paris for LeWeb and found out there not only weren’t power outlets at the seats, they had no Wi-Fi.
Like I said, harumph.
Two rows away Robert Scoble (one of the compatriots with whom I’ll be camping out at the Social Media Club House this week), gave an almost Gallic shrug and pulled out his Kindle.
Having been spoiled by so many a Wi-Fi connected flights of late, I felt my frustration rise. Several of the key “to do’s” on my flight list for the SFO to Dulles leg of the trip required a ‘Net connection.
Taking a breath, the wash of indignation transformed quickly, as I began to think about things I’d actually be able to do on this flight.
Without being hit by the rat-a-tat-tat of my usual social media Gatling gun, maybe I could get some things done. “But Cathy,” I can hear you say. “You work with social media all the time and always seem to manage … what are you talking about?”
It’s a valid question, and this is where I make a confession. I’m not great at multi-tasking. It’s not that I can’t do quite a few things at once, because I can, but when it comes to activities that require a bit more brain power, like writing, I need to put on blinders because the truth is, I distract easily.
It hasn’t always been that way … and I blame the technology.
The persistent flow from the real-time web fire hose with which I steep myself daily serves as the perfect set of distractions. After all, how can I possibly turn away from Twitter or Facebook? I might miss something. Much like little kids who struggle against heavy eyelids, insisting to their parents that they’re not tired, that they want to stay up for the party for fear of missing something, I sometimes think we digitally saturated sorts forget that sometimes unplugging is a good thing.
Okay so it’s not exactly as though someone is holding a gun to my head making making me consume all this content in such an incessant fashion. Nor is mass consumption really a new thing for me. I’ve always had a voracious appetite for information. I even had my own reading group in first grade because I just devoured books more quickly than anyone else. Even that speed, however, can’t begin to compare with the sheer magnitude of information that I, like so many others, gulp down every day. Frankly it’s not about the speed, nor is it really about the volume, for me it just feels as though there used to be more time to digest and discuss things, that my consumption used to be more thoughtful or at least a bit more thought filled.
So as I made my way across the Atlantic, having consumed several magazines, a few chapters of a book, watched a few movies and chatted a bit with an ever-so-nice lawyer sitting across the aisle, I thought about the week that is to come.
I’m terribly excited about the grand adventures in store for me and the wonderful housemates at La Social Media Club House. With less than 24 hours on the ground, already we’ve wandered around Paris, done some shopping and had a splendid home-cooked meal with our buddies from PayPal. You can check out Robert’s Flickr stream for the latest (I’ve posted a few below for your enjoyment!)
Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to what I hope to be a truly blended experience – analog meeting digital – and taking the time to savor each bit.

(Photos below courtesy of Robert Scoble)

LeWeb09 - Gallerie Lafayette tree.jpg
Me, Chris Heuer, Kristie Wells & Dana Oshiro enjoying the beautiful Christmas decor at Gallerie Lafayette
LeWeb09 - hanging at CDG.jpg
Exhausted & bleary-eyed at Charles de Gaulle waiting for luggage
LeWeb09 thirsty metro ride.jpg
Artsy shot of me, Chris, Kristie & Dana as a Metro train whooshes in
LeWeb09 - Gnome finger.jpg
I think this one says it all (a series of them were in a store window we passed on our Sunday stroll)


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