The organizers of MACNA 2011 are changing things up again — apparently no one could agree on who should fill the five remaining speaker spots at this year’s MACNA, so instead a Facebook-based MACNA People’s Choice Speaker Poll has been created. Voting lauched today and runs for one month (until mid-April). Accessing the poll requires that you’re a “Facebook Member” and that you “Like” the application (and probably need to be a “fan” of MACNA 2011 on Facebook in general).
So far, MACNA’s 2011 speaker lineup includes Anthony Calfo, Murray Camp, David Hannan, Sanjay Joshi, Kevin Kohen, Marc Levenson, Scott Michael, Julian Sprung, Jim Stime, Jr., Charlie Veron, and Matt Wittenrich. The following speakers (we believe all quite capable and worthy of your time) are up for your consideration, along with our 2-3 word synopsis of what the speaker is generally known for lately.
- Ret Talbot – reefer, sustainability, author
- Gary Parr – reefer, macro photography, blooger
- Randy Reed – phytoplankton and rotifers, Reef Nutrition and Reed Mariculture
- Mike Paletta – reefer, coral propagator
- Simon Garrett – reefer, D-D The Aquarium Solution
- Joe Yauillo – reefer, Atlantis Marine World
- Tony Vargas – reefer, author
- Scott Fellman* – dual-water aquascaper, showman, House of Fins
- James Fatherlee – clams, lighting, cost cutting
- Adam Blundell – coral reef ecologist, reefer
- Richard Ross* – Mr. Cephalopod, Stienhart Aquarium
- Sandy Shoup – reefer, author
- Matt Pedersen* – fish breeding, author
- Bob Fenner – reefer, author, Wet Web Media
- Chales Delbeek – reefer, author, Stienhart Aquarium
*denotes speakers who have contributed to Reef Builders.
Need to know more about a potential speaker? MACNA organizers have also setup up a Facebook thread for people to ask for more information (it is linked off the poll). There is also an area in the poll for “write ins” if your favorite speaker (or someone new you’d like to hear from) isn’t on the list. It is quite possible that we might even see a grassroots campaign or two started by individuals who believe they have something to contribute to such an event and may have been overlooked or unknown to organizers at this point in time.
While such a poll kind-of smacks of a “popularity content” and is perhaps even open to a bit of ballot stuffing by people who have no intention of going to MACNA, we need to remember that this is an event for the audience, every marine aquarist and industry attendee. Presumably, the speakers that draw the biggest crowds (because more people want to hear from them) are probably the ones that help make the overall event a success. Ultimately, this poll is taking the pulse of the potential MACNA audience with the results being “somewhat binding,” but GIRS club member votes are also being factored into the mix and are separate from the poll results.
We think this is an interesting balance between MACNA organizers making their own unilateral calls (i.e. dictating what messages and topics are featured and who presents them) and giving the general audience what they want. While possible a “risky” move, it will be interesting to see how this idea plays out. Nothing risked, nothing learned.