ALTHOUGH I MISSED the 2008 it@Cork conference because of compelling semesterisation issues, I didn't miss most of the early action at the event because I was following on a virtual back channel. I don't know if the organisers planned to activate this back channel, but I think it is worth mentioning the power of this citizen-generated communications. We microblogged on Twitter and Jaiku during Podcamp Ireland. That's not possible with Twitter, unless you subscribe to a hashtag (like #itc08 today) and watch it bubble back to life. We used it to great effect at Reboot inside a Jaiku channel that occasionally comes back to life with thoughts about next year's event. Some of the functionality would be possible through PeopleBrowsr, if conference organisers arranged a group there. And it's easy to set up a Friendfeed room around an event, a group or an initiative like FIR listeners or fledging communicators have done. We're lucky to have some very proficient live bloggers in Ireland and I've discovered as long as I'm following their short bursts while they're seated, it's often better than burning up the carbon to attend myself. This live blogging skill set and all these microcommunities have evolved with cloud computing. There's no need to set up a dedicated host to empower an audience with a back channel. But there's certainly a need to tell your virtual audience that the channel exists and it's good etiquette to explain to those who paid to attend that some people in the audience are giving away the information to people stalking their microblogs.