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IGF and crazy cabbies pull world together

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Internet Governance Forum Having spent three days grumbling and moaning about the Internet Governance Forum 2010, I pre-decided it was time to highlight the good stuff, the reason why people from 107 different countries bothered to attend.

If you asked pretty much anyone at the event if the numbers were up or down this year, everyone would have said down. There just didn’t seem to be that many people about. But according to the (initial) official figures, 1,900 souls turned up, making it the biggest IGF so far.

This figure will drop, but last year, an initial figure of 1,800 was given on a final figure of 1,480, so unless there was a huge drop-out rate, Vilnius was a success in numbers. It compares to 1,280 in Hyderbad (2008); 1,291 in Rio De Janeiro (2007); and 1,350 in Athens (2006).

Why the sense of fewer people then? So far I have four theories:

  • The venue – an exhibition hall – was too big so you lost people (I don’t actually buy this as the corridors and lunchrooms should still have been packed)
  • More people went to workshops and fewer to the main sessions. There is some merit in this. In fact, the tension between workshops and main sessions was pretty apparent this time, despite a concerted effort to connect the two more.
  • People didn’t get up and say as much. Undoubtedly true. I wonder whether that’s because the number of Americans were down (only US citizens seem to be naturally comfortable with talking into a mic in a big room).
  • People only attended one or two days, so attendees were spread thinner. I’m not sure I buy this one either as once you’ve gone to the trouble of flying to Vilnius, you might as well stay for a day or two longer.

Anyway, enough of that, what about the crazy cab drivers?

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