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Blogging about Conference Blogging

I’m so bad at napping that I nearly always give up the struggle, even when I’m completely exhausted. So here I am blogging rather than napping. And speaking of blogging, I was sitting there at Steven Cohen’s presentation (or rather, on the stairs outside of the overflowing overflow room), taking notes and using my wireless connection to show people around me the stuff Steven was showing but that none of us could see (thank goodness for Google). Oh, and it was a good set of tools, even if Fleck does kick CiteBite’s butt, no matter what Steven says. :-P

In fact, it was probably the intimacy of sitting on the floor together, hovering over a couple of laptop monitors, and getting all jazzed up over fun technology that led one of the other women near me to come up afterwards and ask how I manage to blog sessions. She said she’d seen me typing away at an earlier session, and she sounded more than a little skeptical that anyone could possibly type and listen all at the same time. So I showed her my raw notes (especially URLs for slides or other interesting sites), how I highlight in bold any portion of those notes that I think will make good inclusions in a blog post, and how I add parenthetical comments to remind me what questions or ideas the sessions sparked. Then I showed her how I take the notes and create posts around them whenever I get a minute (and some working wireless, which got pretty rare as the conference progressed).

“But you’re still typing,” she protested, “which seems like it’d make it harder for you to listen to what’s being said.” Thinking back, I only gave her one third of the whole answer to that issue. I explained that I can type a lot faster than I can write long-hand, so I actually hear more of the session than I would if I were writing on paper. But I didn’t explain that typing with an eye to synthesizing for a blog post helps me stay on task when I’m listening to presentations (as Nichole just blogged… it’s another inadvertent-blog-topic-convergence day). It forces me to look for the themes and primary points in the presentations. I don’t end up blogging every session, but I do end up taking blog-ready notes for almost every session.

And of course there’s the final third of the puzzle. When presenters end up explaining something I already understand, I can compose the actual blog posts while I keep an ear out for when the presentation moves on to topics or perspectives that are newer to me. The fact that I only posted a couple of times a day during this conference speaks to the general lack of such down-times for me, which is a good thing. But it did happen occasionally.

In the end, the skeptical woman walked away looking relieved that I wasn’t wasting my conference registration fee (or hotel costs, which was significantly more expensive). Maybe next year she’ll have a blogger banner on her name tag. :)

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