The Blog Herald previously covered blogging conferences with great articles on Tips for Conference Blogging, Tips for Conference Blogging – Part 2 and Tips for Attending Conferences. Last year I covered many new media conferences in the Netherlands with the Masters of Media, a collaborative blog from the University of Amsterdam. We’ve been to very different venues and ran into various interesting problems including no power and no internet access. How do you deal with these issues?
The obvious advantage of blogging a conference with a partner or group of people is that you can divide up the speakers. This leaves you with more time to do research on the subject you are covering and you can sit, relax and listen. If you run a one-(wo)man blog, find people in your niche who may also attend the conference and suggest to blog collaboratively. Not only is this a great way of networking and meeting new people it may also work wonders for your blog. If you decide to cover the conference with two fellow bloggers who link to your conference articles you may end up with new readers from their blogs and vice versa.
Prepare for offline blogging
I’ve been at conferences in such new-built places that they did not even have the time to get the network running. On top of that some conferences only have a protected network or a paid service network. While it never hurts to bring a credit card in case you want to pay for access for a day, prepare for offline blogging in case there is no network access at all. A weblog client such as BlogJet supports all the major blogging platforms and allows you to write your post offline, completely format it, save a draft version, add a category or tags and publish it to your blog when you have online access. You may also install a local version of WordPress on your computer or a USB stick and send your files to your server later.
Bring a power chord
Or even better, a power chord with multiple plugs. I’ve made many people happy with my juice-sharing power chord. Not all conferences are supplied with superior blog seating with tables and power chords like the blog plateau at the PICNIC07 conference:
I usually bring a 15 meter/50 feet power chord and a power chord with three plugs. This means I get can power from the other side of the room and share it with two people. I can assure you, it’s a great way to make new friends. It never hurts to pack an extra battery and to bring a (paper!) notebook in case there is no power supply at all.
Use a memo recorder
If you want to quote someone you either need to be a very fast typer or have a very good memory. I use my phone’s recording abilities to solve both these issues. I record the session so I can listen to it later when I sit down and transcribe it. This is most useful for extensive blog posts that don’t require to be online immediately.
Despite the fact that not all conferences and meetings support blogging facilities it is one of my favorite blogging activities. The feedback and discussion that arises from conference posts is absolutely great. Not everyone has the time, money or right geographical location to attend a conference so it is well-appreciated to cover a conference on your blog.
Anne is a New Media Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She participates as a blog researcher in the newly found Digital Methods Initiative of the University of Amsterdam. Anne also writes about blogging and academics on her personal blog and the collaborative Masters of Media blog.