As it has in years past, Microsoft is meeting this week with some of its hardcore enthusiasts--the Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) that serve in many ways as unpaid ambassadors for the company's products.
This year, though, the gathering with tech enthusiasts is completely closed to reporters and is also covered by nondisclosure agreements (NDA). However, that hasn't stopped the chatter, particularly because of the heavy use of Twitter to discuss the event. (For the latest discussion, simply click on this link.)
There are dozens of postings every few minutes, ranging from talk about meals and the weather to teases about what's being discussed and even some direct discussion of the content itself.
This post is an example of the tease variety from Twitter user JuanKaram. "Wooooooooooow!!!!!! Nda sorry... WOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!"
And there are some twitter postings that I'd rather not hear about, such as "MS Toilet: Up flush for #1 down flush for #2. Seems like a lot of thought. :-) needs automation #mvp09."
But there are also some interesting tidbits that I will be digging around for more dirt on.
Some of the postings are admonitions to other Twitterers to stop violating their NDAs. And still other posters simply want to get a better understanding of what they are and aren't allowed to talk about, given that some of the stuff being discussed is already public.
The end result is that what is made public is a collection of tidbits that's kind of like being at the event itself when you can't hear half of what was being said and can only see via a strobe light that flashed every few seconds.
For its part, Microsoft said it decided to make the MVP event off-the-record and not allow reporters "to enhance the opportunity for direct dialogue" with the MVPs. The company did post some information about the event on its Web site.
As for the NDA, Silverlight head Scott Guthrie had this to say about Microsoft's enforcement powers. "There's a little red light that we're going to ask you to look at as you leave." (And of course, that quote itself is courtesy of one Twitter poster.
Even if Microsoft did steal the mind-zapping wand from the Men in Black boys, it may be too late, thanks to the real-time powers of Twitter.
The MVP summit hasn't always been completely behind closed doors, notes TechFlash's Todd Bishop who attended last year's keynote by CEO Steve Ballmer. (Ballmer's speech this year--scheduled for Wednesday--is slated to be closed to reporters.)
I'll be keeping a close eye on the Twitter posts, but if someone sees something good I should follow up on, please let me know.