Thursday was the first day of Wikimania proper, and I arrived at George Washington University by bike. The day began with keynote speeches. Sad to say, while Jimmy Wales is clearly a confident and proficient speaker, the content of his talk was quite uninspiring. The talk on increasing Wikipedia’s diversity, and in particular attracting more female contributors was far more interesting and thought-provoking. We all have a duty to do more in this regard.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into either of the first two sessions I wanted to, at first, as both rooms were packed to overflowing. Clearly, larger rooms should have been available. However, as the crowds thinned, I did manage to hear the end of the first GLAM session.
I was then interviewed on camera, for a Wikimedia promotional video. Though only seconds are likely to be used, I was questioned under bright lights for over half an hour, after first being subject to a makeup session, “to cover up blemishes”. Cheek — I don’t have any!
I then found two of my female friends, both upset that only male-fit T-shirts were left available to them, due to under-ordering. So much for doing more to increase diversity!
After lunch, I took my seat for a set of GLAM presentations, only to be asked to facilitate the session, with just a couple of minutes notice. The non-arrival of one speaker and technical issues with another’s laptop left me having to fill time, so I took the opportunity to again proselytise about QRpedia (thankfully, the audience were mostly different to that I’d spoken to on the previous day).
A brief rest at a fellow delegates’ neighbouring hotel was followed by a Metro ride to the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism, for another reception, where I had an interesting chat about our comparative health care systems, with American doctor, Roy Poses, President of the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine, one of the session panelists, and chatted to a high-school student from Pennsylvania, who was attending Wikimania, chaperoned by her non-Wikipedian mother. Truly, a fascinating spectrum of people were attending, and made welcome.