Home » Uncategorized » Conference blogging catching on

Conference blogging catching on

It looks like Andrew MacNeill’s and Kevin Ragsdale’s call to bloggers to cover the conferences is really taking off. I thought the Prague coverage by Dave Crozier and Doug Hennig was really good, and the FoxForward “day one” coverage is instantly heating up. Check out Kevin Ragsdale (wall flower, right!), John Koziol (who is giving the behind the scenes of the Fox Team session), and the real behind the scenes coverage by conference organizer Kevin Cully. (any I missed??)

Are there any negative side effects to the bloggers covering the conferences? I started thinking about this a little bit this morning as I was going through the FoxForward posts. Does this mean the UniversalThread coverage is dead? Could be. Is there a need? I see both the Southwest Fox and German DevCon will have official coverages. I know the conference organizers have costs associated with the coverage. With so many bloggers picking up the coverage, why should they add this cost to their already tight budgets? One reason is the bloggers are doing this on-the-fly with no guarantee it will be done. The official UT coverage has deadlines.

I really like the different perspectives. This is much better than just one blogger covering the conference like I did for the Advisor Summit 2006 and German DevCon 2005.

The one thing I disagree with in some of the conference coverage is the concept of doing screencasts of the sessions. I don’t think it would be hard to do with Camtasia, and I doubt it would concern me as a presenter because I could rehearse it before I arrived at the conference. My concerns are with the availability and how this would affect future conferences.

If this material is so readily available to people who don’t attend, what will be the incentive to go to the conference? Sure there is the networking and the ability to ask questions in person. But if the material is accessible about half the incentive to attend will be removed and conference will completely evaporate. I have been involved in many conversations about how the Internet has impacted conferences already. There is so much information easily accessible, so do I really need to attend a conference when I can read someone’s whitepaper online the next week? Same thing with selling the conference proceedings, slides and whitepapers. I want the conferences to flourish and this is completely dependent on attendees attending.

My hope is the conference coverage will make you feel you are really missing the experience and raise your desire to attend. I can tell you this is what the Prague and FoxForward posts are doing to me. Pick a conference and go, they are all good. It is simply the best way to get training on your career.

6 Responses to “Conference blogging catching on”

  1. September 17th, 2006 at 01:12 | #1

    Valid points.

    I think the technical conference as a whole needs to reinvent itself. I’ve never understood the validity of watching someone pour over code for 75 minutes while you waited in the audience for the 2 or 3 concepts that you could take away with you and, hopefully, digest. And, now, even less so.

    My old friend Ed Rauh, RIP, and I used to discuss this at length because we both came to the same conclusions on what a really worthwhile conference would give to the attendees.We had some ideas which I am more and more convinced are valid.

    But I don’t want to do anything which hurts the nascent FF conference next year nor SWFox….so I’m thinking of talking with existing organizers…

    I dunno…email me and I’ll try to explain better (heh)

  2. Anonymous
    September 17th, 2006 at 22:47 | #2

    I agree with you, but sometimes is not fair with the rest of folk’s that live far far away of this conferences (mainly outside of US). As my example, I recognize the value of this conferences and I atended to some in the past (Advisor conferences) and I enjoyed a lot as well meet with VFP Team and other entusiastic Folk’s. Unfortunatley for me, this conferences are not so cheap (air travel, nice hotels, etc).

    Now, the only way to have fresh information and tips, is with the bloggers that share this info with everybody. At least here in Mexico, VFP has no coverage by MS, and I commented this with people in Mexcio as well as US (in the conferences). For spanish spoken people, we have http://www.portalfox.com that gives us a lot of VFP info, but I also review a lot of VFP Bloggers to have more of this actualized info.

    Conferences needs to reinvent and make buisness with the precedings or colection of articles (they need to delay some time to avoid not going to the conferences), but also mantain a bit of contributions to VFP people.

    Hernan E. Delgado

  3. September 17th, 2006 at 23:03 | #3


    I definitely understand your perspective. Even in countries where conferences are held developers face the fact they cannot afford a conference.

    But I look at what Igor has done in Prague and wonder why it is not possible for this model to work in other countries. He literally got sponsorship for the conference and only charged a small fee to get in the door.

    Maybe you need to start organizing a conference in Mexico. Recently we have seen conferences pop up in South America, France, Russia, and Romania. It definitely is a big undertaking, but the rewards are great.

  4. September 17th, 2006 at 23:59 | #4

    Grigore Dolghin and I founded and worked a model for sessions in Romania or almost any other economically challenged region that would work…and did. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw scant weeks before but he managed to line up a replacement speaker.

    My head is still spinning from FoxForward so I’m still digesting but I think there’s a way to save the modern VFP con.

  5. September 18th, 2006 at 12:28 | #5

    Hey Rick, I wrote a few things on my blog.


  6. September 19th, 2006 at 17:13 | #6

    Gonzo–in a good conference session, you’re not watching someone pour over code for 75 minutes. Too much code is as bad for a session as too little.

    While conference sessions fall into different categories, the basic idea is to get the audience thinking about and excited about your topic. The details can be in the notes (and I think any speaker who doesn’t provide white papers is cheating), but the ideas should come fast and furious.


Add reply