For a question by Simone Staiger on the knowledge management for development list, Peter Ballantyne, Chris Addison and myself compiled our experiences so far.
1. For the euforic annual meeting this year we tried to capture a lot of the discussions with blogs and short videos. see the Euforic AGM blog where we published a whole bunch of stuff. we started drafting stories on different sessions, by the end several participants were doing their own stories. At the feed you can also see some stories published by off our site about the conference. Doing videos has transformed our approach.
2. At the brusselsbriefings blog you can see where we use a more structured approach and a blog as the primary advertizing and reporting mechanism for, in this case, a series of short meetings. The blogging really changes the way the meeting is reported. Instead of a heavy policy paper we ended up with a four page newsletter format closely based on the blog. Interestingly the organisers offerred no comments on the blog postings but the moment the same text was in word it was closely edited. The video played an important role in the last
brussels briefing in the dynamic of the meeting itself. We were able to incorporate over 20 blips, many from non-speakers. As a result many people felt their views were taken seriously by the organisers. It also gives the meeting a buzz, we often get people thanking us for the
opportunity to talk to video.
3. We think it is VERY worthwhile to blog an event. Even if it just adds an extra documenting element and gets people used to the idea that others maybe listening. There is a difference in whether you want to capture the live presentations, or rather the voices of others who are
listening/reacting. You may have an aim of changing the conversations if you reach out to capturing other voices than the plenary speakers.
4. the blog (or site) MUST have feeds, and have the feeds on the sites of others [and get people to subscribe to them]. i think you want people to blog your conference and its blog on other blogs or platforms. Before, during and after. establishing a conference tag to be used
across different platforms may also be good. we need to go where the 'audiences' are and not expect them to come to us. I think the blog needs to have quite 'instant' stories, giving atmosphere and opinion as well as text and presentations. so the feeds change and it's worth
5. However, a blog has a normal 'pace' and blogging an event can be overwhelming for the readers. Personally I still have 105 unread blogposts on the web2fordev blog. Suddenly
you are overwhelmed with information. ...So there could be other alternative ways of displaying
things too. For inspiration, here's an example of a vlogged event from rocket boom using a site which is very attractive. Erwin Blom wrote a great blogpost in Dutch (important language for all to know :). He writes about an aggregator page for an event. They asked people who were
interested to use twitter, youtube etc. to help cover the event. And aggregated all the content on a site of the event: Picnic07. They discovered (as we did) that you need a UNIQUE tag, picnic will also be used by anybody picnicking in 2007. You can have a look at the site, it's in english.
6. On tools: One thing that blogger allows (but not wordpress) is to be able to post directly to draft by email. This would make my job easier as I write posts in the meeting on my phone and email them for editing. It is also much more difficult to have relaxed blips if you use a tripod for the camera. We use small digital cameras rather than video cameras and talk to the person over the top of the camera. A little camera shake can add to the immediacy of the blip. (See Mabel
7. The experience of following meetings remotely. Although I don't have the stats for
web2fordev, the anecdotal evidence was that very few followed the event live, and I only had direct feedback at the meeting from one person, watching the videos has been higher than I expected (over 100views for individual items) but the impact is far higher as videos
are shown at other meetings and we show at individual training sessions.
Ethan Zuckerman and Bruno Giussani have compiled a tips for conference bloggers guide
Question for you: how do you as an online viewer experience an event from far? What makes it easier to connect? And how do you use the online documentation of events you have attended?