ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Rolling On The Floor Meowing —

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending ROFLthing, a smaller form of ROFLcon, the Conference of Internet Memes. Held in New York City, it was a one-day event with a collection of speakers, guests, and as it turned out, a couple hundred attendees and press/documentary people. As one of the speakers, I had the opportunity to present about Sockington, the little grey cat with the thousands of followers. (He had 10,000 on Saturday but is at nearly 13,000 now.)

As I spent the week before slamming away on my presentation, one of my friends asked why I was working so hard when I can do some sort of presentation in my sleep, especially on a subject I know so well. And the answer, really, was that I don’t want to sleep through my own presentation; if I don’t keep trying new things and attempting more trickery and showmanship backed up by research and preparation, I will stagnate. No thanks.

The presentation, entitled EGAD TUNA, included an OpenOffice Impress presentation, which had many dozens of slides and is located here (12mb). If you want the short-form, it’s this:

  • I’ve been internet famous before.
  • I enjoy this Sockington thing.
  • I did it by combining a cat and twitter.
  • It was initially fun.
  • It continued being fun for social experiments.
  • It means a lot to people (and to me).
  • I will keep doing it.

Along the way, I try to bring up some points about the process that involves Sockington.

I like to walk a venue before I work on a presentation for it, but I didn’t really have that choice in this case. 

I also chose an unusual getup, which seems to be more and more what I like to do in high-profile situations. It may or may not help the presentation itself, but it lends an interesting tenor to photographs of my stage presence:

Mentioning as an aside, there were a group of people who self-styled themselves as commentators on the event, acting as if heckling was some new and refined art. At twice their age, I’ve seen and heard better, more incisively, and delivered with more punch. I ended up having to deal with them before and after the presentation, in my own way, and some people acted like this was more special or unusual than one might encounter otherwise in a non-academic presentation. Let me dissuade you immediately; when alcohol or camraderie-inspired bravado enters the mix, it always results in some silliness from the back (or front) rows. It’s up to the presenter to be quick on their feet to deal with it.

Normally, I endeavor to record my own presentations, but there was just too much on the plate this time and I’m depending on others to have captured it. I thought I got all of what I was trying to get across, and if there were pauses and stumbling, it was mostly centered around the undependability of my remote-control clicker and feeding off the tenor of the crowd.

A long time ago a very smart man told me to never act like my potential audience had been saturated, and to never be surprised that more and more people would hear of me the first time, and this was certainly the case here; in the days hence folks have found my other work or more about me from this speech, and written in. We can sometimes convince ourselves that we are more prominent (and relevant!) than we actually are.

I’m most proud of this slide:

What I am saying is that sometimes we can be a little too judgemental about what others do, and decide the relevancy/usefulness/meaning of that activity based on our own preferences. I tried to be as succinct and yet funny as I could about it, but the situation is serious: so many people weigh in and decide what others should do, and think they’re being clever or insightful with their observation. They’re just not. Link them to this graph all you want.

The other slide I liked was listing all the crap that’s gotten me attention over the years. See how many of them you know:

And see, right up to the minute with the mention of the Anti-Cloud thing which I will not discuss in detail at this moment. 

In summary, I am pleased with the presentation. I’m sure some copy of it will come out someday, and until then, you have the PDF to play with.

As for the rest of the conference, well, I am really unhappy that it was so short, because the combination of being interviewed, talking to people I never get to talk to, making new connections and running around meant I saw very little of the other presentations (except You Suck at Photoshop and Alexis Ohanian‘s introduction), and that makes me sad. (Bre Pettis‘ presentation about rapid prototyping was very similar to one he gave at the Chaos Communications Congress a few weeks ago, and I saw that video, so that at least didn’t escape me.)

To list friends seen again and not seen again seems needlessly indulgent and weird, but I do say that I am impressed both with the variance of lives that come to these (people complain it’s all rich white college kids and they are deluded) and the new acquaintances and friends I make as a result of these. As someone who spends a lot of time working through data and concentrating on the activities of machines, I drink up opportunities to find out what else is going on, and so far the ROFL people are 2 for 2 in terms of absolute success. I look forward to more, maybe just from the seats next time.

Categorised as: jason his own self

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  1. disambiguated says:

    Should I ever draw to an inside straight?

  2. disambiguated says:

    Sure, but how’s your poker game?

  3. Church says:

    Your celebrity chart is wrong. I initially came across you as the “Text Adventure Doc Guy” years ago.

    OTOH, my attention does not often equate to celebrity status, much to my dismay.

  4. Adem says:

    This seems like a good post to mention that I just recently started reading your blog. I mean, I’d heard of in some way, shape, or form a few years ago, but it never really stuck until I stumbled upon or “datapacolypse” post a few weeks back.

  5. ross says:

    i am pro outfit.

    • Jason Scott says:

      What? I took a nap, of course. Actually, I was spending that time doing my documentary preparations.