Non sum uni angulo natus; patria mea totus hic est mundus
The usual translation of this old quote attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC to AD 65), is:
I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.
It’s the kind of line that gets people like me going, avid travelers who have lived and worked in several countries. You may have read author Jodi Piccoult recently in The Telegraph, talking with Bryony Gordon about how she feels Americans should travel more. I couldn’t agree more, I think Americans need to get out of the country on a regular basis, rub up against the other animals, get some stamps into those passports, some ouzo down their gullets, and some frequent flyer miles under their belts.
So I was interested when the 2015 London Book Fair announced a new element for its Publishing for Digital Minds conference on April 13 at the Olympia London complex: multilingual social media experts.
I’m looking forward to being joined that day by a special corps of backchannelers whose jobs will be, in a way, to answer Seneca.
First, what is backchanneling at a conference?
‘I’m Wearing My Pink Top’
Years ago, I’d turned up at one of my first author conferences, a Writer’s Digest confab in New York City. Sitting near the back of the room, I was monitoring tweets from the session I was watching — the author James Scott Bell was discussing plot in fiction, and how it works with other elements of a story.
I watched in fascination as a tweet scrolled up my screen from an attendee in the room:
I’m in the best conference session ever on plotting a novel. And I look great in my pink top.
Having done a good bit of live-texting of network news events, I realized there was a job for a journalist there: someone who could move out fast, accurate quotes and summations of what actually was being said in a conference session — and put them across so that readers could tell who was speaking and in what situation.
And I never brag about how I look in my pink top.
Okay, almost never.
As soon as I’d been hired by conferences to live-tweet their key sessions, I began getting notes from as far away as Tokyo, Reykjavik, and New Delhi: publishing-house workers overseas were following the hashtagged Twitter stream and kindly dropping notes to say thanks for the coverage I was relaying as official tweeteur. At the same time, messages were coming from inside the hotel ballrooms, too: followers were keeping up with simultaneous sessions they couldn’t get to, or sitting in the same room I was in, using the live tweets to confirm what they’d just heard, comparing notes, debating the points in front of them.
Years earlier, while based in Rome, I’d seen some of this near-reach/far-reach effect in Florence, Italy, where I’d live-texted a United Nations World Food Programme Country Directors conference, projecting comments from the podium up onto screens above the stage in real time, to reinforce what was being said — especially helpful to delegates whose first languages weren’t English.
So it’s in the context of this far-flung conversation that I’ve engaged in for years from conferences that I see the value in what LBF’s Digital Minds conference is doing.
There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog
By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
Writing on the Ether: London Book Fair’s ‘Digital Minds’ Conference: A Call For Publishing Polyglots
Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com