Blogging Conferences

 Images Laptopinst-1I had a great day, yesterday, introducing educators in Gaston County to Web 2.0 and blogging. Today I’ll be doing sessions on podcasting and a “Telling the New Story” presentation.

During the sessions yesterday, I introduced the audiences to Hitchhikr, as a loose example of a mash-up site. One of the teachers asked an interesting (and obvious) question. “Won’t people choose not to attend the conference, if they can visit the event through other people’s blogs and pictures?”

Of course, I do not know the answer to this question. But I suspect not. In fact, I suspect that the opposite may be true. EduBlogging found some traction during last year’s NECC conference in Philadelphia. I know that I wasn’t the only blogger to receive thank you comments and e-mails from educators who were not able to attend the conference, but who followed it through my bloggings and podcasts.

But intermixed with the digital exhaust of the NECC blogs were an almost equal number of blog entries for a little known conference down in Memphis, Tennessee, the Laptop Institute. Because of the nature of the conference, and the sophistication of its attendees, an astonishing number of them blogged the event. Of course their blogs sparked more conversation, and it became something of a buzz.

Certainly we can’t be sure if blogging was the reason, but this year their enrollment has nearly doubled. In fact, they have had to close registration and even the waiting list, because they want to be sure to provide a quality experience for all attendees.

It is logical to me, that the blogging served as an advertisement. But it was an honest and authentic advertisement that came from customers. All kinds of interesting implications here.

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5 thoughts on “Blogging Conferences”

  1. I greatly appreciate all the blogging of conferences. Most teachers cannot get funding to go to distant conferences. This opens up the information and discussion to a much wider audience. It also introduces people to conferences they don’t know about. While all the blogging and podcasting is great – it is still not the same as being at a conference, meeting people face-to-face and making those connections. I would love to be at NECC this year. It is just not possible, but I will be there virtually thanks to all who are sharing.

  2. Hi David,
    I look forward to seeing you again at NECC and I will be blogging about the conference as well. I am convinced that the best answer to the question is a resounding NO – that blogging the conferences doesn’t encourage people to NOT attend the conference since they can just follow the blogs. I think that the bloggers are the best promoters for these conferences, in fact the conference organizers should pay our travel expenses because we are so valuable (okay, that part is in jest, but I believe the rest of it). Barry

  3. Hi, David!

    Thanks for sharing the good news of the Laptop Institute! Last year, quite a few folks blogged their experiences at the conference, and we’re hoping that this year, that number will increase. Not only does conference blogging help those unable to attend keep attuned to the latest in edtech, but I’d argue that it also serves as a touchstone later on as we reflect on past experiences. I’ve recently gone to Technorati and searched for blog entries on last year’s conference and had a blast flipping through pages of last year’s attendees. It’s like looking at a yearbook – a snapshot of a moment in time. What will be interesting to watch is the long term presence of blog entries…will we be able to access today’s entries ten years from now? Or, will we be looking to Blurb or other tools to create print-based, more permanent records of our blogging?

  4. An in person experience is always preferable but not always possible. This opens up the best thinking in education to all educators which in turn allows group brain storming and sharing to occur. I think it unnerves many people because it is hard to “get their hands around” or “control” the outcome of the plethora of edubloggers that spread like cudzu throughout the INternet after a conference happen. Those “in the loop” are perhaps a little nervous that they could be “out of the loop” without a little effort.

    Edubloggers definitely turn the world upside down as we know it. I believe, however, it is a boone for the very schools that truly need it: rural schools and smaller ones without the funding to send their educators to every conference.

    This new evolution of the Internet is making people nervous, but perhaps it is time for some tides to turn and the status quo to shift if we are going to turn the behemoth of education around in America and around the world.

    Excellent, insightful post.

  5. Some people believe that keeping a blog will “give away all their secrets”, and so they prefer to write their research reports or give their training sessions in person only, limiting their overall impact. I’ve had far more to gain from going ‘blogal’ than from my previous non-blogging private existence. This means both personal, intellectual and financial gain. Getting things as distributed as possible can / is only a good thing.

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