I was really impressed with this year’s AU. Yes, there were fewer people than last year (although our ADN session on Monday ended up having very similar attendance, interestingly), but it didn’t feel smaller: it felt bigger. Aside from any technological shift at the product level – and cloud computing was very much talked about by Carl Bass and Jeff Kowalski – this was the year that AU spread its wings and embraced attendees around the world without them having to travel to Las Vegas.
I knew AU Virtual was coming, but I didn’t anticipate how compelling an experience it would be. And how well the virtual attendee’s feedback loop would be integrated into the main event: via the AU 2009 Twitter feed the conference was connected to the world at its mainstage and Design Slam events, and it suddenly felt so much bigger. The combination of virtual attendance with the explosion of social media over the last year really changed the shape of AU, probably forever. And I very much like what it’s become.
I’d be very interested to hear comments from those of you who attended, whether physically or virtually. Did it feel different, this year, or was it just me? :-)