In just a few weeks, ASAE/The Center for Association Leadership will be hosting their Great Ideas conference in San Diego. A group of approximately 8 individuals, all from various fields in the association industry, are blogging the conference. We actually did this for the GI conference last year, and for the GI conference in Orlando in December 2005.
Visit the blog at http://blogs.centeronline.org/greatideas/
The experience is rather interesting in that the group of bloggers, all volunteers, write on a range of topics including their thoughts on presented topics, keynotes, major issues in the industry, etc. Some of us took photos at the conference in order to show readers exactly what we were talking about. (I think photos add a great deal of context to blogs, so don't hesitate to do that!).
While the process of blogging for a conference isn't completely new, it is not something that many associations are doing at the moment. Which begs the question, why? My thoughts on this range from the simple to the more complex.
Organizing a group of bloggers for a conference is, by the way, an easy thing to do. A couple of the GI bloggers are coordinating the effort. They have asked past conference participants to join them, and now there are eight or so of us. Most are Gen Xers, but we have some Boomers as well. The coordinators have given us some key questions to ponder and then post on. We're also welcome to post on just about anything we want.
Many organizations ask the question, who is editing the blog? Who is responsible for the content? My frank answer is "get over the control issue". The blog author owns the content and no one edits it...that's the beauty of the blog. An association that hosts a conference blog is doing so to facilitate communication, and if they are truly wise, to spark some debate...and if truly lucky, some controversy.
I encourage your organization to consider setting up a conference blog for your annual event. It is a great way for those who can't attend to get a sense of what was covered. It also gives those who are/were there to conceptualize what they learned and articulate take-aways from the conference. From an adult learning perspective, the ability to articulate lessons learned is a critical step to processing knowledge.