The Mesh 2010 Conference was in full swing last week. Overall, the organizers did a great job of gathering some of the finest digital marketing and social media minds under one roof to share, collaborate and learn from one another. That said, there is always room for improvement. Below are my Mesh Hits and Misses for 2010:
Miss #1: Swag bags x 2
I arrived at Mesh bright and early on Tuesday morning. After picking up my name tag and agenda, I was handed a big bag of swag. Two bags actually, one laptop bag (similar to the one I received last year) and a second smaller lunch bag. Both were filled with a bunch of swag that I'll probably never use, and definitely don't need. Not to mention I had also brought my own bag, so I was now left with 3 bags to cart around and no coat check or drop space to leave them in. I am definitely down with receiving free goodies from sponsors, but why not introduce the concept of digital swag (this being a digital media conference and all). It would have been so much cooler to receive a login and user code where I could peruse and select free digital gifties online. I wouldn't have had to cart any extra gear around with me all day, and I would probably have actually made use of and paid attention to the sponsors' freebies.
Hit #1: Keynotes
Great Keynote presenters and topics on Day 1! Day 1 was all about privacy and security. The first keynote was Chris Thorpe from The Guardian, who spoke about their decision to open up their content and data to developers. Great session (expect a detailed blog post in days to come). The second keynote was Joseph Menn, who spoke about his new book Fatal Systems Error, and went on to tell gangster stories of digital crime lords—very cool!
Miss # 2: No visibility
You couldn't actually see any of the presentation if you sat toward the back of the main auditorium rooms. Mesh set up large screens behind the speakers and then just projected the Mesh logo. Great as it is, it would have been so much better to project the speakers onto those screens. It's so much more engaging when you can both see and hear the panels.
There wasn't a break that went by that didn't offer snacks, meals, drinks, and tasty treats. Everything from ice cream sandwiches to giant pretzels were supplied along with your choice of juice, coffee, and even Red Bull. Mesh organizers did a great job to make sure us meshies never went hungry or thirsty.
Mesh would benefit and keep people coming back for years six, seven, and eight if they divided tracks and sessions geared toward beginners and more experienced digital marketers. I totally understand the need to have 101 and base-level sessions, but unless Mesh sessions continue to expand and geek out as we do, numbers will start to drop off. One thing I heard from a five-year mesh goer was that the first year it changed her life, her entire career path, and way of thinking, but five years on the level of education she was receiving was really tapering off. DON'T LET IT TAPER OFF! Offer some more in-depth, geeked-out sessions next year!
Mesh Hit #3: Mesh Live
Mesh Live encouraged people to share their Mesh experiences, photos, and videos online, direct to the Mesh website. This feature was a great idea. Hopefully going forward there will be more photos and videos of actual Mesh presentations; sometimes it was hard to choose between sessions, and it would be amazing to have access to the sessions we missed (hint hint).
Did you go to Mesh this year? What did you think? Any suggestions of how to improve the experience for next year?