Blogging: the 2nd decade

Interesting to see how the bloggers role is evolving. I first was asked to write the official blog for a conference about 4 years ago. I was given a bottle of bubbly for my pains – I don't recall my copy being edited.  Today it was rather different.  Over the years I have noticed that I have been edited more aggressively. Basically anything remotely negative is removed. Now the copy is even sent to the event organiser for clearance.

This isn't blogging. It isn't journalism either. The independence of the blogger ought to be what gives the account value. But controlling what is said reduces this kind of writing to the level of customer publishing. There are no bad or boring speakers.  Everything is wonderful.

This is one of the reasons I tweet. Because I can't be interfered with and that it provides a more reliable account of the event than my blog which then becomes the official record of the event. And the tweeting wasn't bad either. My tweets accounted for 2/3rd of the impressions – 32,000 of them in all. And reaching nearly 8000 people in total. Not bad with only 80 or so delegates and speakers in the room.

But there's more.

The PR bods had been overly enthusiastic. They asked me to film interviews with some of the speakers. But demanded the questions up front. At least here the site I represented said no. But I had to get each of the speakers to sign a form handing over their digital rights. There was even talk of me needing to film them in front of the conference logo- this proved impossible because the logo posters were in high traffic areas where there was too much distraction and background noise.  But I got 4 interviews in the can. To add to the tweets and the blog post.

So why do I do it? Because I don't have to pay to go to the event. I want the papers. And the expertise in them. Plus access to the speakers and their experience. And I can give a sufficiently  individualistic account that my opinion will get through on at least one of the channels even if others are censored.

Let me be clear. I have no intention of insulting or humiliating speakers. But my trade as a researcher gives me the skill to listen to the difference between what they say and what they mean, and also to ask them questions which draw out answers which are frequently more interesting than what they presented. The value of this comes from my independence. As soon as I am reduced to being a performing monkey the life goes out of the blog and the interviews. I'm fine for now but watching the gathering storm clouds with interest.

 

 

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