Karen Schneider had some interesting things to say about bloggers being, well… bloggers at Internet Librarian 2004. Mainly concerning the observation that they might not be listening as well as they should be, and that their blogging might not be terribly courteous.
Here’s my take on it (speaking as a presenter who had bloggers in attendance):
1. Not so much with personal blogging, but for the more focused bloggers, I see them as the new grassroots press. they provide instant feedback to conferences, seminars, and even the general “feel” of the conference. You can know what’s going on even without being there, which is cool. And like bloggers during this last presidential election, they can sometimes upstage the “traditional” press (in this case, the IL report that’ll most likely run in Information Today in the upcoming weeks).
Plus, there’s the whole excitement aspect. Bloggers aren’t blogging the stuff that bores them – they’re writing about what excites them, or as Michael Stephens says “that rocks!” You can lose something in the translation if you don’t “write it down” while the excitement is still there.
2. Dissemination (sp?): I think it’s way cool to get instant thoughts from a topic, rather than waiting a week or two or three… or never. I’d really rather have people share than not. There will be many attendees who do go back and share what they learned, but in internal staff meetings. It’s great to also see and read attendees thoughts in the open web.
3. Attendees already take notes. Why not take them on a laptop? And if they happen to blog, why not post those notes? If they’re taking notes anyway, posting those notes just takes a click – it’s no more disruptive than people quietly typing or scribbling on a legal pad (or in my case, on a PDA). Shoot – my blog started as a place I could post info so I wouldn’t forget it – sort of a customized, summarized bookmarks page of my own (that I could access at work or home).
4. The Younger Generation – They’re here, and they plan to stay. Thankfully! They IM, they SMS, they chat on cell phones, they blog. These are things they just do – it’s all part of their social structure, sort of like nudging your friend at a seminar or raising your eyebrows during an eye-opening point. The younger folks nudges just happen to be done electronically.
Stephen Abrams wrote a great article in the Nov/dec issue of Multimedia & Internet Schools about how schools tend to teach up-and-coming workers yesterday’s technology. Some examples were: not typing when he was a kid (you’ll have a secretary to do your typing); Too much emphasis on typing for his kids (they’re going to be inputting info in many ways, not just on a large keyboard); etc. These “kids” are growing up and becoming librarians, and they have brought their cell phones, their Treos, their IMs and their SMS gadgets with them and EXPECT to use them! Why should it be any different at a library conference?
I look at bloggers in my talks as instant feedback – they more they type, blog, and even photograph me (thanks, Steven), the more I know I’m doing a good job of presenting.
Please keep it up!