So the conference is over and we have all returned home (with the exception perhaps of our colleagues from across the other side of the Atlantic). What can we make of this first experience of ‘conference blogging’? Well, in short, whilst it has been an interesting experience and I will be adding some more posts in the next day or two as I digest some of the fascinating presentations I have to say I am somewhat sceptical.
The problem with conference blogs is, as one delegate put it succinctly, that conferences are for many academics a precious moment of face-to-face interaction. And neither I, nor my fellow bloggers, were keen to sacrifice this opportunity to retreat to a computer. Access was also a bit of any issue as we only had wifi access in the Maritime Museum, and we were only in this venue during the presentations.
So, what could be done to make conference blogging work better? Here are a few ideas:-
- Nominate dedicated reviewers for sessions (especially the keynotes) so everything is covered
- Include a longer break at some point during the day. This could be used for blogging, for writing up notes, or for visiting local sites of interest (of which Liverpool is frustratingly full). This could be made up for my an evening session (although obviously I understand there are logistical issues here).
- Hold a final plenary session where the blog can be reviewed. This would be a way of integrating it into the conference.
- Set up a terminal (e.g. a laptop) in the coffee room where delegates can consult the posts and add comments and reviews.
And maybe think harder in advance about purpose and audience (the golden rule of any web project). Thoughts?