Commentary

Just An Online Minute... Cocktails In The Expo Hall Lead Internet Week Into Corporate Territory

2010 Internet Week Opening Cocktail Reception, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York
June 7, 2010

Giddy, foot hurt, and bringing soil attached to my heel from the Gracie Mansion yard , I headed back downtown to Metropolitan Pavilion, AKA Internet Week HQ, for the Internet Week official opening cocktail party. Would DJ Mike Relm get these nerds to shake a tail feather again? Would there be a hummus table to shame the house of Sabra? Would Ivanka Trump be there to make my pores feel self-conscious? Not...quite.

Remember, my friends, yesterday, when I said, "Internet Week has grown up"? It certainly felt like it, but I had no idea how corporate it was going to feel when the first thing I saw when entering the HQ area was a gang of suits. I'm talking full on suits. And the expo hall was still erect. I know; I have no idea what I was thinking. Yes I do. I thought, "How are they going to take down all the displays for the dance floor and food?" Simple solution - no dance floor and "there isn't any food" - as one guest pointed out. Lucky for me, I wasn't in the mood for dancing and I had already eaten a pepperoni pizza Lean Pocket, so I was good to go. This softens the blow of realizing that this was the typical conference set up: cocktails in the expo hall.

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I'm not saying it's bad.

I'm sure attendees from years past grumbled about the lack of food (I would if I hadn't prepared like a Boy Scout) or room to showcase their reverse running man, but let's take a stroll down reality lane, ok? Internet Week's goal as the mothership isn't to get us fat and drunk. No, it's to gather us all together and shoot out potato-gun style into all kinds of events. The organizers have many stakeholders to satisfy, one obvious last night being the brands that paid to have a booth in the carnival of an expo hall. Are they going to say "hey Yahoo! We'll give you space for that big ole spray painting screen, but we'll only get you eyeballs when people are at sessions." Hell no! Their plan to go corporate style worked. I found people printing things at the HP Media Center while eating popcorn, I found others drinking wine by a set of laptops, and I found even more milling about the Southwest Airlines...thing.

If it helps you feel less like Internet Week sold out or is getting too corporate, think of those guys as mom and dad and the other parties (if that's your big thing) as your fun cousins or friends with parents out of town.

I was happy to run into Carrot Creative's Colin Murphy at the back of the space. He's involved with FiestaFunnel.com and was hanging with his people. His people included celebrity and fashion photog Mat Szwajkos and the one two Gregory punch of Gregory Littley of The Drop Lab and Gregory Michael of ABC Family's Greek fame. While we blathered, Mr Youth's Doug Akin slithered over with Wok and Wine's Peter Mandeno. Oh yes, Wok and Wine. I plan to cover one of Mandeno's events, and here's why: instead of conversing on a forum or writing on walls, a method Madeno describes as "clinical," Wok and Winers gather at a host location where a family style table is set up with newspaper and banana leaf. "The perfect formula is 40 people + 40 bottles of wine," and a bunch of shrimp for cooking, slapping on the table, peeling, and eating. That is math I can get behind. Conversation just flows, explained Peter. I'm in! 

I also ran into the Morris+King posse of Andy Morris and Katie Smith-Adair who were in an in-person chat room with Toby Daniels, Rocketboom's Ellie Rountree, and M+K client Karina Kogan of BUZZMEDIA. BUZZMEDIA is behind the PopEverything! Party and Karina spilled one of the surprise guests to me, which I will keep under lock and key in my brain vault. I reunited with Cake Group's Michelle Shildkret and found TechMUNCH organizer Nichelle Stephens nearby in some fancy glasses. Just before I made for the door I found The Webby Awards' Chris Greene again who is dealing well with his Just An Online Minute fame. His wife Erica Lane Greene used to work at MediaPost so whenever Chris is around I feel that much closer to Erica. Heehaw.

Tonight I'm heading to the MoMA for one of my favorite dreamy nights of all time: the AICP Awards and Show. I mean, seriously, it's the best in independently produced commercials with champagne, if I remember correctly, with the reception held in the sculpture garden. You can't top the glamorous feeling that comes with being at one of the most famous art museums after dark for a private party. It's pretty awesome.

I hope you're all enjoying everything Internet Week and this city has to offer! You can find my updated agenda over here - there's a chance I'll see some of you Wednesday!

Photos are up on Flickr!

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