More Feedback on Swift and Otter Group at CIL

My time at CIL was short so I didn’t attend much, including the feedback session for Swift. I am glad to get caught up via some excellent blogging:

Ryan Deschamps:

I think ITI got user needs right for the conference. My needs? Top of the line speakers, organized sessions with paths to help me keep things relevant. Great moderators that help both audiences and presenters feel good about the space they are speaking in. Easy access to the internet (the only miss this time around — I’m sure they’ll learn for next time though). Ways to hook up with friends (the wiki and Twitter covered this for me) for social events. An RSS Aggregator to capture the blog posts about the conference (Google Reader covered this for me). And so on. One thing I personally did not need was something to aggregate materials together. There’s a website and a wiki and a whole lot of links to tie the two together. That’s more than sufficient aggregration for me. Then I’ll go to Twitter, Facebook, my Google Reader and whatnot to cover the rest. Then friends will tell me more.

Karen Schneider:

Then again, what was the point of that session? If you have to explain what your tool is really supposed to do, then your software is broken. Stop talking and stop making excuses. If you are the developer, go fix it, and if you are the customer, check your deliverables and ask yourself if you need to choose another product — or if you need the product to begin with.

I’ve been at IA Summit 2008 since Friday, and here’s the difference. The Crowdvine software actually works (and I could see how it worked BEFORE I signed in). It allows me to connect with other attendees, view sessions, and follow the zeitgeist. I didn’t have to sign a crappy term of service. It wasn’t broken the first time I logged in. The interface is pleasingly pulled together, the fonts are not squinchy-tiny, and yes, rumors to the contrary, it “interfaces” with Facebook–and with RSS, Flickr, and other social software.

Note to self: investigate Crowdvine.

Jason Griffey:

We. Don’t. Care. We use products called things like ooVooTumblrHulu, andTwitter. Clearly names are not at the top of our list when we choose products or service. We didn’t care about the history of the product, nor even really about its intended use. The street finds its own uses. The point of Web2.0 and Library 2.0 is to provide tools.

Several people in the room commented on the fact that The Otter Group seemed not at all interested in really hearing about the problems with the product. Everything was blamed on “being beta”, or on the lawyers, or something. My take on it is that they just don’t seem to get the social web, as hard as they tried and as much history as they have in trying to make it a commercial product. They fell hard once with their ALA Bootcamp, and if possible fell even harder with Cil2008 and SWIFT.

I must also weigh in that ITI puts on some of the best conferences ever. CIL2008 was absolutely the place to be for engaged sessions, dynamic speakers, an amazing layer of social networking via Twitter, blogs, Flickr etc and time to network with new and old friends.