Responses to Conference Blogging: Is it Worth Blogging?

by Dr Davis on May 28, 2011

I am going to start with the negative, because one of the positives came as a direct result of the first negative response by a presenter. But I will get to the positives. Just hang around three paragraphs!

Negative Responses to Conference Blogging
Presenters have been upset about their work appearing on my blog. That particular kerfuffle included a woman I know well referring to the blogging Dr. Davis as “unprofessional.”

Presenters have asked me to take their work down, nicely and inaccurately threatening legal action.

Presenters have asked me to add things to the posts, like links to their books so “they” can make money, just as I do. (Er, no. It is a dot com, but I don’t make money off this blog. I spend money to keep this blog up and running without any monetary return.)

Positive Responses to Conference Blogging
Presenters have sent me their entire papers, to pass on to others.

Commenters have said how much they like the conference posts: Live Blogging, MLA Final Day, Material Culture in Teaching, A Tale of Two Requests, CCTE Pedagogy I: Mansfield Park.

Authors I cited during the conference blogging responded: 47WhiteBuffalo.Wordpress.com, Conceptual Blending and Beowulf.

Then there were discussions of the presentation material by those who did not attend, particularly on TCEA Breakfast: Reassessing Shakespeare.

The point, I think, of blogging is to get the best information as widely disseminated as possible. Am I wrong?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ReadyWriting 05.28.11 at 11:49 am

Nope, you’re exactly right.

2 JoVE 05.28.11 at 11:56 am

I suspect the negatives were from people not familiar with blogging. And that some of your positives are actually positives for them. In particular the fact that people who didn’t attend the conference get to see their papers or summaries of their papers.

As long as you respect their copyright (i.e. their paper is their work and they get to decide what happens to it; but your summary of a public presentation is your work, as long as you credit them, it should be okay, just like media reporting on a conference) blogging about conference sessions is a good thing. It helps build an audience. An audience for THEIR work.

One benefit of conference papers (and by extension a wider audience for conference papers generated through blogging) is that those people are much more likely to read and cite the published version when it comes out. A link to the author, so people can find their other work (which also might be of interest) seems reasonable but since it is your blog, totally up to you.

3 Dr Davis 05.28.11 at 12:59 pm

@JoVE, I do try to link to their pages. However, sometimes I can’t find a page for them. This happens mostly for grad students, but sometimes for ft’ers who aren’t particularly web savvy as well.

4 Elizabeth E. 05.29.11 at 10:32 am

From the experience that you’ve had, it that it sounds like Conference Blogging is Not Ready for Prime Time. While those who read your blog faithfully, and who are conference bloggers themselves, seem to be okay with the looser structure and format of conference blogposts, it seems as if the presenters seem to view it as an extension of THEIR publications, and so wish to control/shape/dictate content (or ask to have it removed). I read a ton on the web (maybe too much) and I think some things that characterize web “discussion” are looser formats, broad-ranging connections and interactions. Judging from what has happened to you (in some of the requests to remove/revise material) this seems to be at odds with how I perceive the function and performance of web-based writing.

I know when I recently attended a conference, it appeared that the wireless connection was blocked. All the rooms on that end of the hotel had NO connection whatsoever. It could have been that the organizers just didn’t want to pay for that service for their attendees, but I suspected it was also so that the content couldn’t be distributed instantly to those who were not in attendance. While a conference blogger may or may not feel this way, it is true that we are disseminating information and some may not want that information given out freely. I viewed my role more as a journalist, recording the events. Obviously, others don’t view conference bloggers in this way.

In other words, the jury is still out.

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