Looking forward to ONA10

As I write this over breakfast, deep in the suburbs of our nation’s capital, ONA10 is already getting started, bleary-eyed workshop participants wandering the hotel halls in search of coffee, out-of-state attendees drifting through airports and trains and cabs and…

OK, I’m probably romanticizing this way out of proportion, but the honest truth is that I had a great time last year.

For me, last year, the theme of the conference was “swagger,” as in, “my posse has swagger.”

This year, I’m looking to focus more on paying attention during the sessions, learning something, and generally soaking up information from journalists with their boots firmly planted on the ground, putting ideas into action.

More on that in a moment.

I’ll be a bit more free to talk (and listen) without pretext or pretense this year. Last year I was in full startup mode, putting in marathon sessions of work at all the wrong hours as we raced to launch a new product, in between leading an unconference session and winning a real live award. When I did socialize, I have a bad feeling that much of what I said was steeped in the vocabulary of Pitching The Company. It was exhausting.

But I had a great time.

This year, here are the questions I’ll be asking everyone:

  • How’s your commenting platform? What’s working, or not, or missing from it? How could it improve?
  • Doing anything local with location yet? Building or buying?
  • Who is responsible for new product development in your news organization?
  • What’s the one thing users of your news site consistently ask for that you aren’t giving them yet?
  • What was your biggest success/failure of the year?

And here’s what I won’t be paying any attention to at all:

  • Pundits
  • Academic conversations about convergence
  • If you so much as breathe some sort of 2004-era “bloggers vs. journalists” framing, this conversation is over.
  • Competition
  • Awards

Oh, and I don’t really look like my avatar. I lost that hat a couple winters ago.

So, I’ll be the guy with the goofy grin on my face, excited about everything.

See you there.