Document Sample
					Tips for
Bruno Giussani

Ethan Zuckerman

September 2007, v1.0
Blogging a conference is an intense and rewarding activity.
This document offers some basic tips on how to approach conference blogging.

tools                               location                              PreParation
Always start with the battery of    Don’t sit in the front rows (un-       Conferences usually give out a
your laptop fully charged, even     less you’re taking pictures of the     program ahead of time. Use it to
if you’re sitting next to a power   speakers), because you distract        prepare for blogging:
plug. Remember that the laptop      people around you
                                                            Copy/paste or type the name of each speak-
can get hot, so if you’re holding   with your typing
                                                            er and the title of his or her talk into a text
it on your lap, put some padding    and thosebehind
                                                            (Word) file.
under it (some experienced con-     you with the light
ference bloggers use a lapdesk      of your screen. Sit to the side or in  Do a quick Google search for
-- see Sit down    the back, near the power plugs.        each speaker, and save (in the
and get ready before the ses-       Big events often have overflow         same text file) links to their
sion starts, so you won’t disturb   rooms or media rooms where             sites, blogs, and the institutions
other attendees with laptop un-     you can watch the speakers on          they’re affiliated with; write a
packing. This will also allow you   simulcast TV and blog comfort-         one-or-two-sentences      “biogra-
to check the WiFi connectivity      ably. Some conferences offer spe-      phy” for each; and for the speak-
before the speaker goes on stage.   cific spaces for bloggers. If you’re   ers you’ve never heard of, try to
And keep a bottle of water handy    sitting in the main room, even         get a general sense of who they
-- you will get thirsty.            in the back, minimize the dis-         are and what they do.
                                    turbance for the people around
                                    you, and do let them know that         To write the mini-biography, use
                                    you’re blogging (so they won’t         also the speaker information
                                    think that you’re just ignoring        distributed by the conference or-
                                    the speaker and doing e-mail).         ganizers (booklet, website, etc.).

                                                                          For the key speakers, save a pic-
                                                                          ture on your laptop (from their
                                                                          websites) and pre-format it for
                                                                          Web use, in case you will need
                                                                          If you prepare sufficiently,
                                                                          you’ve got the first paragraph of
                                                                          each post almost written ahead
                                                                          of time.

Tips for conference bloggers
software                              sPeakers                              style
You can choose to write your          It’s relatively easy to blog good   Even on blogs, correct spelling and
posts either directly in the blog-    and great speakers: They follow     syntax are a requirement. But you’re
ging tool interface or in a text      a narrative path through their      not writing a novel nor a magazine
file:                                 talks and speak at a pace the       story, you’re writing a summary,
                                      audience can understand. It’s       or a commented summary, of a
- If you work directly in the blog-   harder to blog inexperienced        speech.
ging tool, you should remember        speakers(because they may be
to save the unfinished post as a      too technical,
draft (be careful not to publish      confusing, fast,
                                                         Sometimes even just three key points will
it by mistake) a couple of times      etc.) and multi-
                                                         do, as long as they capture the relevant
during the speech, just to avoid      speaker panels
                                                         parts of the speech or of your analysis.
losing the whole text in case,        (because the discussion can take
say, Internet connectivity goes       many different unstructured
down or your browser quits un-        turns).
expectedly.                           But you don’t need to transcribe
                                      the whole talk, you need to cap-
- If you work in Word or other        ture the gist of it. A 20-minutes
text editing software, you will       talk can often be summarized in
have to add links, etc., later,       a 20-lines post.
when copying the text into the
blogging interface.

Tips for conference bloggers
Quotes                                 audience                              context
If you use quotation marks             You’re not blogging for the           Always remember that what you’re
around something a speaker             speaker, you’re blogging for          writing will be read by people
has said, make sure that you’re        yourself and for the people who       who weren’t in the room, so they
getting the quote correctly. If it’s   may read your blog. So if a talk      haven’t seen the slides, the video,
interesting, it may be picked up       is too hard, too bad, too uninter-    or the gesture. Hence, you have to
by other bloggers, and you don’t       esting to blog, don’t be afraid to    compensate for the lack of context.
want to be the one starting a          give up on it. It’s the speaker’s     Don’t be afraid to create a narra-
chain of misquoting a known            fault if (s)he can’t make the ma-     tive by saying “He shows a slide
speaker. Otherwise, use the indi-      terial interesting or intelligible.   with data on ...” or “She walks on
rect form: “The speaker said that      (This should never, however, be       stage carrying a big suitcase” or “He
she thought that…”                     an excuse for laziness.)              shows a YouTube video” etc. And if
                                                                             the speaker shows a YouTube video,
                                                                             or a picture, remember that you’re
                                                                             online: Open another browser win-
                                                                             dow, go to YouTube, find that video,
                                                                             and link to it; or go to the speaker’s
                                                                             website, find that picture or an-
                                                                             other similar or related item, and
                                                                             link to it (or republish the picture
                                                                             within your post).

                                                             Yes, this requires effective multitask-
                                                             ing. It’s at the root of conference

Tips for conference bloggers
linking                              tagging                             timing
Link, within the post, all there     Tag every post with all the rele-   Ideally, you should liveblog,
is to link:                          vant tags, starting with the con-   which means that you write the
                                     ference name and its official tag   post, and add the links, as the
                                     (if there isn’t one, agree on one   speaker is talking, and publish
- speaker’s personal homepage        with other attending bloggers,      the post not later than 10 min-
                                     so you can find each other’s        utes after the speech or panel
- speaker’s organization page        posts easily), the name of the      is over. Not everybody can do
(or a specific relevant section or   speaker, etc.                       this; it takes a certain habit.
document)                                                                Think of it this way: If you can
                                                                         publish right away, you will be
- speaker’s blog (or a specific                                          able to network with the other
post within a blog)                                                      conference participants during
                                                                         the breaks, rather than sitting
- speaker’s books (if mentioned                                          at your laptop rewriting your
in the post)                                                             notes.

- videos the speaker may have
shown that are available online

- past speeches by the same

- other relevant posts and pic-
tures from the conference (from
you or from other bloggers

Tips for conference bloggers
mistakes                                 collaboration                             digestion
Acknowledge mistakes you may             If there are many bloggers cover-  If an idea sticks, and you have
have made. If you have to correct        ing a conference, do collaborate:  new thoughts on it hours (or
something (because you misun-            you can divide up the speeches     days) after the original post,
derstood a speaker, for example)         to write about; or one can blog    nothing should stop you from
after you’ve published the post,         mostly in pictures and another     writing a new post elaborating
don’t use the delete button.             interview the speakers during      on it. Just remember to always
Most blogging software has a             breaks, etc. Cross-link to one an- link back to the original one.
“strike-through” option that al-         other -- it gives your reader the
lows you to cross out a word or          chance to see
a sentence, leaving it visible, so       different            Never assume that readers have already
that readers know you’ve cor-            perspectives         read what you’ve written earlier.
rected it. It shows you’re trans-        on the event.
parent. (This doesn’t apply to ty-
pos -- and don’t worry too much
if there is a typo in a post, as
long as it’s just one.) Sometimes
your readers will be those point-
ing out your mistakes, by adding
a comment to your post. In that
case, acknowledge them when
correcting (“thanks, Susan, for
pointing this out”).

                               And don’t forget to have fun !
                               Go to the conference’s parties,
                             network with the other attendees,
This document can be downloaded from the author’s blogs, where comments are welcome. it can be reproduced and distrib-
uted freely under a creative commons license “Attribution / non commercial / share Alike”.

Tips for conference bloggers

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