Blogging And Conferencing

By | January 28, 2004

A good piece from Thomas Crampton of the IHT on how bloggers inside the World Economic Forum at Davos have subverted the idea of behind-closed-doors discussions.

Several delegates, including the excellent Joichi Ito, have been posting directly from the floor, or even the stage, to their blogs via Wi-Fi connections. Some have been posting video. All of which raises some interesting questions, some of which the IHT looks at:

  • Is this blogging journalism? Or are the bloggers stakeholders, helping to spread the good word like ambassadors? Is the material they blog commentary, reportage, spin, or some sort of semi-official summary? Joi, for example, has noted the ‘official’ summary of the panel he joined on (of course) blogging differed in emphasis to his.
  • Does this kind of real-time commentary stimulate, stifle, or redirect the discussion and proceedings? Do people feel inhibited or liberated if they know their words are getting shunted across the globe? Are confidences being broken?
  • And what of old-time journalism in all this? Accredited journalists are barred from some confidential sessions. Should they feel aggrieved, oir should they used the blogs as source material? Is there any point on news organisations covering such events in future, or should they just rely on the blogs?
  • And finally, is it possible to blog and contribute to debates at the same time? If someone is busy chronicling what’s going on, how can they be a useful participant? Or does it help, allowing bloggers to absorb in real time the views of the audience, both in the room and on the Internet, or to make use of real-time input from their constituency to ensure their contribution, and the discussion, is bang up to date?

I’m not coming down on one side or another here, since I’m not there. But it’s worth a long hard look. Especially since the organisers themselves seem to be encouraging things, not least by providing handhelds to participants.

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