Conference Presentations and Serendipity

Update: In the 2 plus years since I wrote this post, live blogging during a conference presentation has been overtaken by the even livelier Twitter, which forms a back-channel to most presentations nowadays. Comment on the fly with hashtags makes following, interaction, and searching easier and the whole thing is much more dynamic. Twitter was just starting to stir when I wrote this in October 2007. I certainly didn’t predict the potential of that great little app. That’s Web 2.0 or is that Web 3.0 for you!

I’m a great believer in serendipty, one of those words you think you know the meaning of but can’t explain. Serendipity happens when everything in your life plus what’s out ‘there’ seem to be converging, and for some higher purpose. Cynics might call it something else … a ‘wake-up call’ for example.

I’ve had a couple of reminders in the post today about last month’s conferences at AUC and USQ Springfield. ‘Send us your presentation soon’ was basically the message.

The other was a call to fill out the conference feedback form, not something most people like doing, unless they have an axe to grind. I didn’t, and as I’d enjoyed the conference and there was some shiny bait at stake (new iPod) I got to thinking back on the presentations, especially my own, and how I could have improved them, and finally why such a high-profile conference like the AUC hadn’t podcast proceedings or developed a conference blog. I said as much (nicely) in my feedback. Hey I could win that new iPod if my comments are deemed useful and I’m not too lippy to the nice AUC organisers.

And the serendipity bit? A post from the TED Blog today came up with Ethan Zuckerman and Bruno Giussani’s Tips for Conference Bloggers, a little gem which I’ve also posted to my del.icio.us. Wish I’d had it last month. A measure I guess of how fast we’re moving in opening up the potential of the blogosphere.

What could I have done better with my blogging?
I thought I’d done well by cranking out my carefully observed and witty comments on a daily basis and by grabbing an overall view of each day’s proceedings. Slacker me! Ethan and Bruno suggest writing in the present tense e.g., “the presenter walks on the stage carrying a suitcase (!)” and that you actually post within 10 minutes of the finish of the session.

They suggest that the blogger does some good prep by checking out the presenter before the session. Your first paragraph can contain links to the presenter’s own blog, website, biog and picture. Now, you’re up and running. During the presentation multi-task by hotlinking (speedy fingers here) to any sites the presenter mentions. And when it’s all over? Meet up with fellow conference bloggers, and link to one anothers’ blogs. Alternatively, agree to collaborate on one blog as co-authors. This has got me thinking! Now, what about Twitter in this equation. For some of my multi-tasking, speedy colleagues, live blogging could become an event in itself.


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One response to “Conference Presentations and Serendipity”

  1. Sue Waters Avatar
    Sue Waters

    Hi Kate

    Thanks for telling me about the live blogging information. Wow lots of really great advice. MMmmm will be wondering how I go because I like to write my notes as I listen but I do not like to post the rare product. Personally I like to read a good review than rare products so that is how I like to blog presentations myself.

    Oh well we will just have to wait and see how I go next week.

    Sue

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