April/2005: PeeJ Stuff - Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to the 27th annual Crime Prevention of Oregon conference. I haven't done any "podium-speak" in years. You don't really forget how, but it takes a while to get comfortable again. I've never had a formal podium posture, I prefer to lean on it forward, and then scan the crowd. Probably isn't the best looking way to do it, but it works for me. We were invited to speak at the convention by the organizer, a nice guy named Rick. Apparently last year we were a hot topic due to the PDX Group Media Bust and they wanted to know about internet solicitation, grooming, and have presenters talk about various ways to fight them. So he contacted me, I said "sure" and voila, everything was set up. I probably made ten missteps along the way, since I've never been invited to speak at a convention.

Most social and professional arrangements have certain unwritten rules you're supposed to abide by. I rarely know any of them. For example, there's a certain etiquette about when and how to meet the parents of the person you're dating. There's a certain way you're supposed to treat media. None of this stuff comes with any manual. I just play it by ear. I was probably supposed to bring a cake or something. You truly never know.

We were allotted an hour and a half to do the speech and give a Q and A. A pretty lengthy time. I decided to get Harv to come up for it, since she's very good with this sort of thing. We gave Phoebus a small amount of time to talk about technical issues and the technology we use... and another contributor a segment to talk about their experiences on the website and how kids are today in general. I figure a rotation of four different speakers covering different areas would make the speech far more interesting than just myself warbling on for quite a while. The audience seemed very receptive. You could see the literal revulsion when describing webcam invites and how prevalent they are. People seemed outright disgusted when talking about the different types of teen rooms on Yahoo and how flooded they are by perverts. The first segment, myself talking about the history and methodology of the site was probably fairly boring, as it's a dry subject. The second segment was Harv, who did a great job injecting some levity and talking about her experiences on the site, most notably working with law enforcement. I then popped in with a breakdown of the Taylor recovery and lessons LE should take from it. We switched back and forth, doing 8-15 minute blocks apiece. While I wish I would have had a budget to do some graphs and paper handouts, it wasn't a bad effort for our first time.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect was the after-speech "schmoozing", for want of a better term. Having four people there allowed us to fan out and talk with everyone who wished to catch us, one-on-one. I was surprised and pleased by how many LE and other community notables had ideas and desires for us to speak to beat police, high schools, parental community gatherings, etc. I accepted each idea thrown at me, because hey... why not? Might as well go speak to whomever about the issue, so long as they cover transportation and a night's lodging if it's far away. After doing SEEEEEEEE-POW! (As an official dork, that's how I've been pronouncing it to myself for months), I have a clearer idea of how to prepare the material. Seeing how Kerry Tomlinson of KPTV presented her portion prior to ours was a nice illustration of another way to take it. She did a great job, as expected. Otherwise, everyone was very inquisitive and complimentary. Very cool people. It was nice to get out and meet some people face-to-face and discuss various issues about internet solicitation that are not media-affiliated. A rare treat. Makes me second-guess the various conferences and gatherings I've turned down over the last year.

Hell, the CPAO people even gave some decent swag!

Handy certificate, CPAO mug o'candy and speaker designation

Hopefully some additional presentation opportunities come up, as that exceeded my expectations in just about every possible way. Plus, it was nice to put to use some of the only "valuable" skills I learned while in college for once.