Blog Conferences May 19, 2007

A tribute to my blogger colleagues

I want to pay a tribute to bloggers – yes, gush alert – you have been warned. I was invited to chair the Irish Business Women’s conference in County Mayo this weekend and talked a few of my blogging colleagues into participating and as a result Irish bloggers played a pivotal part in the conference proceedings.
Conn recorded speakers for a series of podcasts which will be aired over the coming weeks (two recorded before the event are already online); Claire weaved in and out of the speakers and talks, camera in hand documenting everything, including the all important chocolate fountain on the Thursday night.. (The first set of shots are already up on Flickr); Keith liveblogged and has a superb summary of the speakers’ presentations on his blog. I stayed well away from technology apart from my time keeping equipment (a large brass bell).
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One of the exciting thing for me about the event (and there were others!) is that it’s the first time I’ve seen these bloggers “do” what they “do” in real life. We were all there as professionals who happen to blog. I’ve never seen people work as hard as my three colleagues did on Thursday and Friday – Claire, camera in hand, even managed to ask a pivotal question in the Q and A which captured people’s attention and then went back to shooting photographs. I invited Conn to the podium to do his “elevator pitch” about podcasting and he hosted mini workshop sessions during the breaks to encourage people to listen to podcasts. Keith participated as a delegate and made the content available to all via his blog. None of my colleagues were being paid for their work (Claire and Conn were sponsors of the event); I think Keith may have paid to attend as a delegate.
When people ask me what’s the difference between blogging and just participating on a forum or being out on the “internet” I try to talk about the “givers get” mentality that I see so frequently amongst bloggers. Bloggers (and these bloggers in particular) are some of the most generous, egoless people I’ve ever met. Yes, blogging can be an ego trip but giving back what you know and making what you know available in a freely accessible medium is a really generous act. These bloggers are committed to spreading the word and in each of our own ways we tried to keep the communication flow moving within the conference boundary and without so that as many people as possible could have their say and take something away from the proceedings.
I also didn’t realise that pizza is pivotal.
More than one speaker alluded to developing their business idea over a pizza and a bottle of wine…after the event Claire and I collapsed into comfy chairs in the company of Coronotion Street and pizza. I thought that there was such a great array of speakers that it would be a shame to let them get away without facilitating some kind of discussion so I decided to postpone my presentation and use the time to bring the speakers back for some interaction leading to an extended Q and A – I wrote up my offering which captures some of the points I would have made called Anyone for Pizza? – now if that’s not the collective unconscious at work I just don’t know what is.
Disclaimer: Unlike my blogging colleagues, I was paid for my services on the day

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  • keith bohanna May 19, 2007 at 11:45 am

    It was an enjoyable day Annette and just as soon as I write a cheque for the attendance fee I will indeed have paid for my place 🙂
    This was my first live blogging session and it was fun to do. My perception (even as a blogger) has been that live bloggers need to get out more – that it was just a “stuck to my keyboard” geeky thing.
    In reality it focused me on the speakers and on trying to capture the key points they were making. A downside is that it did interfere with the networking as I moved around the room. Who in their right mind wants to engage with the geek stuck behind his laptop!
    Claire’s shots from the networking event were superb and I cannot wait to see her main event pics. Both herself and Conn are pro’s at what they do – I merely ambled in and made use of quick and easy publishing that blogs facilitate.
    Well Chaired BTW – you helped to deliver an on-time conference and kept the flow going with appropriate light use of your powers!
    keith

  • omaniblog May 19, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I’ll certainly click on some of those links. That’s a great example of how to summarise and entice at the same time.
    By the way, about what % of those at the conference ever opened a blog? (I’m on a blog training course with about 15 others and no one blogs but me.)

  • annette May 19, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Keith I think you’re being a bit modest there – it’s not only typing and publishing – it’s listening, analysing, summarising and then publishing which is a lot to be going on with while there’s a conference in flow so well done. Between you, Claire and Conn you made the conference accessible and available (while it was going on) to the membership of the IBW forum and anyone else who cares to check it out – that’s no mean feat in my estimation! Thanks for your kind comments on the chairing – I didn’t get to ring my bell too often on the day!
    Omani – there’s a discussion ongoing on the IBW board with some people suggesting that most business blogs are rubbish, so I imagine they have read a lot of blogs to come to that conclusions – it’s the age old issue of having to do the work to find the good stuff that keeps emerging but I guess the same can be said of music, books and anything where there’s choice – it does take work … I had a lot of great conversations with people at the conference who were interested in starting blogs so between the 4 of us I hope we did some evangalising that will see us adding a few new people to our blogrolls in the near future.

  • Finola Howard May 22, 2007 at 10:46 am

    So… all hail the bloggers… no seriously… I have to say well done to Annette, Conn, Claire and yep you too Keith… You really did contribute a great deal to the event and greatly appreciated… It was fantastic to extend the technology of the forum itself to blogging and podcasting and something that had been on my mind for some time. And don’t underestimate the power of the big brass bell in the hands of Annette – a merging of old and new technologies I’d say… Well done and thanks guys…