Event Blogs

Brief Description

This is from a discussion on the KM4Dev Listserv


This page came out of a discussion on the KM4Dev list serv that was initially about what blog software to use. A very interesting thread on using blogs as a way to prepare for and document events emerged.

When to use

  • Preparing for events (marketing, sign ups, preparation, as the event website itself)
  • Capturing results of an event (a form of Social Reporting)
  • Sharing out materials after the eventA place to capture event reflections and evaluations

How to use

  • See the Blogging page for basics on setting up a blog
  • Make sure your team who will post to the blog have the appropriate permissions and have practiced using the blog software
  • Make a plan for how you want to use the blog.
  • Publicize the blog URL on all your event materials

Tips and Lessons Learnt

1. For the Euforic annual meeting this year we tried to capture a lot of the discussions with blogs and short videos. see: [1] where we published a whole bunch of stuff. we started drafting stories on different sessions, by the end several participants were doing their own stories.At the feed [2] you can also see some stories published by off our site about the conference.
Doing videos has transformed our approach.
If you can encourage participants to contribute, a) you get better content and b) you get more involvement over time. If anybody from outside the organisers' team is blogging, the organisers can also comment on their posts to make sure they feel that people are reading.
2. At [[3]] you can see where we use a more structured approach and a blog as the primary advertising and reporting mechanism for, in this case, a series of short meetings. The blogging really changes the way the meeting is reported. Instead of a heavy policy paper we ended up with a four page newsletter format closely based on the blog. Interestingly the organisers offered no comments on the blog postings but the moment the same text was in word it was closely edited. The video played an important role in the last Brussels briefing in the dynamic of the meeting itself. We were able to incorporate over 20 blips, many from non-speakers. As a result many people felt their views were taken seriously by the organisers. It also gives the meeting a buzz, we often get people thanking us for the opportunity to talk to video
3. We think it is VERY worthwhile. even if it just adds an extra documenting element and gets people used to the idea that others may be listening. There is a difference in whether you want to capture the live presentations, or rather the voices of others who are listening/reacting. You may have an aim of changing the conversations if you do so.
4. the blog (or site) MUST have feeds, and have the feeds on the sites of others [and get people to subscribe to them]. i think you want people to blog your conference and its blog on other blogs or platforms. before, during and after. establishing a conference tag to be used across different platforms may also be good. we need to go where the 'audiences' are and not expect them to come to us. I think the blog needs to have quite 'instant' stories, giving atmosphere and opinion as well as text and presentations. so the feeds change and it's worth coming back.

5. However, a blog has a normal 'pace' and blogging an event can be overwhelming for the readers. You can this (120) blogposts suddenly appearing....So there could be other alternative ways of displaying things too. For inspiration, here's an example of a vlogged ( video blogged) event http://www.rocketboom.com/maker_faire/. There's a great blogpost in Dutch (important language for all to know :) [4] It's about an aggregator page for an event. They asked people who were interested to use twitter, youtube etc. to help cover the event. And aggregated all the content on a site: [5]
You can have a look at the site, it's in English.
6. On tools: One thing that blogger allows (but not Wordpress) is to be able to post directly to draft by email. This would make my job easier as I write posts in the meeting on my phone and email them for editing. It is also much more difficult to have relaxed blips if you use a tripod for the camera. We use small digital cameras rather than video cameras and talk to the person over the top of the camera. A little camera shake can add to the immediacy of the blip. (See Mabel on euforic.blip.tv)

7. Following meetings remotely. Although I don't have the stats for web2fordev, thee anecdotal evidence was that very few followed the event live, and I only had direct feedback at the meeting from one person (but I will raise this at our next meeting to see if we have stats), Watching the videos has been higher than I expected (over 100views for individual items) but the impact is far higher as videos are shown at other meetings and we show at individual training sessions.
This would be interesting to discuss: how do online viewers experience an event from far? What makes it easier to connect?

Examples & Stories

On event blogs, see links in section above. Also:
  • Twitter to "collect and share instant feedback throughout the event direct from people's mobile phones." [6]
  • 2020 conference blog of IFPRI (International Food and Policy Research Institute): [7].
Peter Shelton from IFPRI about "Blogging from China":
  • Internet speed (especially upload speed) is noticeably slower than what several CG Centers have so be wary of uploading large files to your blog and wiki. This became a big hurdle for us as we attempted to upload full length video files (approx. 15 min) to our blog from China.
  • Based on this experience, we would suggest uploading smaller files to your blog and wiki from China and possibly leaving the larger file uploads to someone working from a faster connection.
  • Terminal server connection: We were attempting to upload files and web pages to our Terminal server using a laptop hooked up via the hotel's ethernet, which didn't work very well. Thus, we would suggest hooking into your server from a secure desktop computer, perhaps taking advantage of a counterpart's offices.
  • As far as getting content posted from China, we didn't have any issues (other than the slow Internet), but in testing alternatives to the GoDaddy blogware video hosting service, we tried both YouTube and Google Video and noticed that the video playback feature wasn't available from China. That is, we could upload videos to these services from China, we just couldn't watch them from China.

Who can tell me more?

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Related Methods / Tools / Practices


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Photo or image credits

Page Authors

  • Simone Staiger-Rivas (ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR, Knowledge Sharing Project)
  • Joitske Hulsebosch
  • Chris Addison
  • Stephan Dohrn (IFPRI)
  • Peter Ballantyne (IAALD, Euforic)
  • Paul Currion