Friday, August 3, 2007

Dear Sister, have you ever "blogged" a conference?

No I have not, although I have attended many a memorable conference (and many not so, or was it that I can't remember...).

However, a dear and holy colleague of mine pushed through the barriers of pain, soldiered on amidst adversity and managed a first ever blog of a certain conference she attended this year - read her grumbles here. A true stoic she is!

I have been privileged to receive the following information and tips on conference blogging from another colleague of mine which come via the Guardian's digital digest blog.

The art of conference blogging

A subject close to my heart: the art of conference blogging. Ethan Zuckerman explains that he learnt to score baseball games when he was small using some kind of sports shorthand, but carrying this "anti-social and obsessive" behaviour into his adult conference-going life has had its problems. Some people find his posts too detailed, whereas others revel in that.

Zuckerman says blogging makes sure he pays attention at blogs (rather than drinking tea with friends in the corridor - imagine that!). Posting in detail means he can use his posts as a record to refer to later, and the number of links he gets for conference coverage helps boost his Google rank.

His tips, in short:

- Preparation: Line up the names of speakers, links to their sites and the names of session in advance.

- Writing: Write your posts offline in a text editor - Zuckerman uses BBEdit and I use Ecto. Both have functions like easy hyperlinking (select the text, press Apple + U and enter the address, rather than having to fiddle with code) and give you a backup of your text, should you lose your web connection.

- Keeping up: Zuckerman always posts within 15 minutes after the end of a conference session. (No pressure!) He says it is better to post an incomplete set of notes that to miss another speaker. I'm different - I'll pick the best speakers, and type up their sessions in a more rounded way during the next dull session, rather than type what every speaker says verbatim. You need some time to interpret speakers, even if it's just a short break, and learning what and where to edit is part of the whole experience. My system messes up when every session is good though. Zuckerman recommends using those fluffy conference moments to finish posts, like when they show the comedy video clips.

- Hard talks: Really good speakers develop a narrative and follow it. If you are having trouble keeping up, note the key starting point of each theme and the anecdotes from that theme.

- Use your commenters: You'll be forgiven for making mistakes, but use and acknowledge their information.

- Collaborate: He cites the blogger Hash, who used the Swahili word Harambee to describe everyone pitching in to cover one of the TED conferences. One does photos, some did interviews and others wrote summaries. Zuckerman says the idea is not to be the sole, authoritative voice at conferences - it's more fun to collaborate.

- Digest: Record ideas at the conference, but digest them later when you have time.

- Have fun: It doesn't suit everyone - some people find it stressful or distracting. Especially if the blogger next to them is hammering away on a laptop... (My Heart's in Accra)

Also found this useful link
How to blog a conference.

Perhaps my stoic colleague may find some comfort after all ...

1 comment:

Father O'Flaherty said...

Sister, here are some examples of conference blogs that are good models:
* UK Museums on the Web 2007
* Museums remixed blog (AAM 2007 conference)
* Museum 2.0 post from 2007 AAM conference