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Should conferences ban blogging?

Should conferences ban blogging?

Steve Rubel posts his thoughts about conferences banning blogging in response on an ongoing discussion at a few blogs: Dave Armano and Greg Verdino in particular.

I’m not a fan of secret/confidential/no-blogging conferences.. although from personal experience I can relate that being at a conference when things are being liveblogged can be a bit intimidating….

At BloggerCon 2004 at Harvard University, I remember being amazed that someone would have the courage to be a part of a panel discussion or standup in front of an audience of 100 or so knowing that at least half of that audience was liveblogging the event – and the other half of the room was participating in the IRC backchannel that was being displayed up on the overhead projector screen behind the presenter.

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Intimidating or not, this did make for some interesting discussions – both in the “front channel”, or the actual discussions between the speaker(s) and the audience – in the IRC “back channel”, and in the blog world as well. Comments, trackbacks, and posts were abundant…

I guess I do see the point in a group like BuzzMetrics wanting to have a confidential client-only conference.. but for most industry conferences, I’m a huge proponent of liveblogging and wouldn’t want to see it – or the backchannel thought community that it represents go away…

View Comments (2)
  • Greetings Matt,

    Max Kalehoff here from Nielsen BuzzMetrics. Our event was a private, client-only user-group event. Unfortunately, most of the discussion about our request for attendees not to blog missed this important fact. As you note, Steve Rubel failed to indicate this, as well as many others. I guess it would’ve dilluted the otherwise great headline.

    So why? The answer is simple: our paying clients preferred that format, and this was their conference. The agenda, topics, and key questions all flowed from their input – even their desire to tackle issues privately. Importantly, unlike many public media conferences, which seek awareness and ticket sales, this was a no-charge, no-frills gathering of 100 representatives from client organizations who have invested significant time and resources in Nielsen BuzzMetrics services. This was not an event put on for bloggers, but a client user-group meeting, something thousands of companies hold in private everyday. In the end, we achieved deep and stimulating conversation, led primarily by the clients themselves, and putting their interests first was the right thing to do.

    We’ll continue to seek our clients’ input in future client-only events to see if a more fully exposed, “on-the-record� forum makes sense. We want to get it right, and welcome public feedback as well. At the same time, we must honor obligations to confidentiality around client case studies, client information and client wishes…

    I welcome you to read my full post as well as offer any further comment or suggestions. Thanks.

  • Banning live blogging is the same as stopping people talking about a meeting. They won’t and they will feel restricted. This will put people off attending such meetings. Far from making these conferences “exclusive”, banning blogging will reduce attendance. Furthermore it will encourage negative blogs against such companies, resulting in poor image. Add to that the lack of positive blogging from the meeting where blogging is banned and the company will further lose reputation. Companies who ban blogging fail to understand how human beings work and also do not appear to know much about the way blogging works. They have completely missed the point.

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