Thursday, November 30
We got up slightly later then usual and both got in the car to drive to Messukeskus in the rain. Irma found a parking space, and we walked past solid lines of taxis and into Slush.
We immediately felt overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowd in there. We abandoned any idea of putting our coast in the cloakroom (where the place numbers ran from zero to 18,000) and entered the hall. After some aimless wandering we found the Founder’s Stage and realised that all of the seats had gone a couple of hours ago. We joined the mob squashed standing in the aisles.
After what Irma described as a “cult like” techno opening lighting, Sauli Niinisto appeared to give some opening remarks. He spoke wittily in English.
At 10:20 Al Gore began the keynote speech and started as he meant to continue: at top speed. Speaking without notes, and without even once saying “errm” or “um”, he explains the three questions that face us. Do we need to change? Can we change? Will we change? Forty minutes later he will declare his optimism and finish by reminding us that we should also regard optimism and perseverance as renewable resources.
We will then wander around various stalls, and drop in on some presentations. We will both make ninety second pitches in order to get a t-shirt and a mug respectively. We we attend and leave one conversation on the Fireside Stage, because it will seem just that: an inconsequential conversation we had no reason to overhear.
After Irma has had to leave I will attend a solo presentation that will turn into a conversation. I will intend to see Tariq Krim, the founder of Netvibes, talking about problems of online sociality. In the event, Caterina Fake will join him, and it will turn into a conversation. She founded Flickr, and they will have a long and detailed talk about how we got from the internet in the nineties to a situation in which four corporations (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter) dominate online sociality. They will both express an optimism based on a feeling that the scandals around fake news have exposed the seedy underbelly of big data, and the reactions will power something new and decentralised.
After this I will wander around again until I sit the small and easy to miss Indian Startups area. Then I will take the 7 and 6 trams back to Arcada, where I will gather all my material for tonight’s Media Landscapes session.
At 16:15 we will begin.