I am by no means anti-corporation. And many companies have been very good to me and CASTLE. And I know they're an important part of the NECC convention each year. And yet, when I went into the NECC 2009 vendor hall today, I was struck by the sheer extravagance of many of the booths: exhibits two or three stories high, a bistro, a singing Elvis, giant computers hanging from the ceiling like Damocles' sword, an enormous white cave, a two-part neon-illuminated complex that was larger than my backyard, and more...

I'm not the only one who left a little unsettled:

The Bloggers' Cafe is buzzing and Twitter has been all-#NECC09-all-day.

For the most part, it seems like the educators here are mostly interested in access, connection, and sharing info via Web 2.0.

I didn't find a single booth downstairs that talked about any of those things. [Shelly Blake-Plock]

I can't quite put my finger on what I felt down there today. A little sick at the waste / uselessness of it all (is bringing a pink Cadillac really going to help OKI sell more printers? do they have data on that?)? A wish for more substance and and genuine engagement and less flash?

Maybe it was just such a sharp contrast to the authentic interactions I felt I was having with folks in the Bloggers' Cafe. Or maybe my crap detector was just on high alert...

okielvispinkcadillac

Photo set: NECC 2009 Vendors