Don’t get me wrong; I did my share of inviting. One professor in the BYU physics department is a proponent and avid user of open-source software; he publishes a webcomic using some of that software. He will also shortly be presenting at an open-source conference in May. I approached him about commenting on the ebook and attending the event and he initially seemed interested. He also offered tentatively to pass on information about our project and event to the organizer of the open-source. That seemed like a gold mine, but as the day approached I was unable to reach the professor for a follow-up, either by email or in person. Thus my best effort was stifled.
I also contacted a sociology professor on campus. He taught SOC 339, Theories of Social Change, this last semester, so I felt that he would have some insight on our project, which of course was all about social change. I intended to invite both the professor and that class to the event. The result? No response. I never heard from him following my initial attempt at contacting him.
Beyond that, I have several roommates and friends around campus to whom the subject matter of the event ought indeed to be relevant. One roommate is a business-related major very interested in new business methods, while another is an illustration major interested both in art and in intellectual property. Other friends have similar interests, but my invitations had to compete with the rush of end-of-semester work; naturally, our event lost that fight. One friend in particular was interested enough that he may very well seek out the recorded webcast after the fact.
My one success was in a family friend, a graphic designer in Idaho. She teaches at BYU-I and has been involved in some novel methods of education; she was very interested in viewing the webcast. However, while she praised our efforts, on the whole the event did not meet her expectations. She wrote me after:
“…I felt the correlation between digital technologies and an evolving society was completely lost in most of the presentations… There didn't appear to be much communication among the groups and I feel that lack of direction really made the Online Twitter feed and Facebook feed a circus of disconnected questions. That said, it certainly was a fledgling exploration in digital synchronous communications and that, I feel, has value.”
She added further that she had hoped for a more holistic view of the effects of digital revolution on society rather than disjoint looks at small parts. Incidentally, I felt similarly about the event, though she articulated the concerns much more clearly than how I had thought of them.
So that’s it; beyond that, I invited many others, but they were just other students and not ones that I expected to have any real interest in the event. Unfortunately I am very bad at selling things, and so I had a hard time convincing anyone that the event was worth attending. These were the extent of my efforts in inviting people to the event.
As for participating in online discussion during the event, I was somewhat hindered by a dead laptop battery. I did, through the account of a fellow group member and on his computer, put in some insight to a follow-up question to the one that I answered live to help make more clear the detriment associated with too much openness. I was able to plug in later on to access the discussion myself, but I felt that both the questions and answers being put forth were sufficient to represent my own views so I did not add anything.
I did present, though. That ought to count for something.