Tuesday, 29th November marked the 10th Anniversary of Web Science – the interdisciplinary study of how the web shapes society, and vice versa. Myself and a small team of Digichamps were invited to the event, in order to provide social media coverage and assist with the live stream of the event which was broadcast with global participation from the Web Science Trust Network of Labs. The main event itself was held in the Norton Rose Fulbright offices by Tower Bridge – it goes without saying there was a fantastic view! Some of the biggest names in the discipline were present, with Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, along with happy birthday messages from Tim Berners-Lee, Martha Lane-Fox, Vint Cerf and a whole host of other academic and industry people.
The opportunity to attend an event with so many experienced and intelligent academics in the area was too good to miss; the environment right from the very beginning was electric with lively debate and discussions between the attendees. Being a Web Science event, it was great to be able to move part of this lively discussion online through the format of twitter discussions. Through sharing the live stream link on twitter and engaging in discussion over a series of twitter accounts, the event began trending locally on Twitter (check #WebSci10 to see more)! Furthermore, live tweeting the two panel sessions that were put on really helped with online engagement, with many people tuning into the session and taking part in the truly global event.
Logistically speaking, the event itself was incredibly demanding with Tim O’Riordan preparing within just 2 months to be able to facilitate the livestream, working alongside Go Media to ensure a high quality video of the event could be made. Many other academics contributed – Susan Davies, Kate Dickens and Joanna Lewis to name just a few of the event team did a great job in organising everything; given that working with academics can be similar to herding cats! Despite a few challenges on the day (nothing can be planned to the second perfectly) everyone present had nothing but praise for how well the event ran, with everyone thoroughly enjoying. It was a great experience – now we can start preparing for Web Science’s 25th Anniversary!