Brief Reflection on Conference/Event Blogging/Social Media

BlogI’ve had some interesting experiences at recent conferences (reverse chronological order, although I also wrote the most recent last)!

JISC E-Learning Fair
My iPhone was still awaiting repair/replacement, and as there was a £15 fee to use the wireless, I decided I’d stick with pen and paper, but when it then took quite some time to sort through the information and reproduce a blog, I’m thinking a Netbook may be the way forward other events. As I only have 7.5 hours a week to work on Blended Learning (although I invariably do more), got to conserve the time for working on new ideas, although clearly the dissemination of such information is important!

Why I Study History
PowerPoint was banned at this session, which was intended to be as responsive as possible, but I did write a few notes, and not too long after the event adapted those notes to integrate some of the discussion we’d had afterwards, and posted onto my WW2 Poster blog..

Men at War/Framing Film
Again, at these conferences I was armed only with a notebook. Neither conference was set up for Twitter, so it wasn’t a question there. In giving my paper, I had access to a presentation remote control, and this makes such a difference to presentation – allowing more flexibility, and more engagement with the audience. As to blogging however, I’d blogged BEFORE each conference, which generated a lot of interest (judging by my hit counter), bit I still haven’t got round to putting elements of my paper online, even though I could easily upload  the PowerPoints to Slideshare, and maybe even just cut and paste my notes (yes, I did use PPT, but I didn’t have a fixed script).

Greenbelt
Attended Greenbelt after the previous couple of events. I’d maintained contact with a number of people from those events via Twitter, Facebook, blog comments, etc., and it was a great chance to meet up with a number of people face-to-face again, and to have a clearer idea of which elements of the event to attend. Greenbelt experimented with an iPhone app for the first time, with around 300-400 users paying around £4 each (rather than £8 for a paper programme), in which you could favourite particular sessions. Only drawback with this was that the battery kept running out, and keeping it charged was either expensive (there was a place to recharge phones) or time-consuming in trying to find a plug socket not in use by someone else/combined with a session you’re interested in! So all my notes, again, were on paper, although I did send out a number of Twitpics from the event (don’t do this overseas, I tried a few from Twitterfon/Echofon, and it downloaded all my tweets as well – my bill for a couple of weeks abroad was about £200!)

Christianity in the Digital Space
At “Christianity in the Digital Space“, I came armed with… a notebook and my iPhone for the first session! Everyone else was hunkered down behind their laptops, and my phone, under the strain of so much Twittering, ran out of battery before the morning was up! After lunch, therefore, I returned with my laptop/partially charged iPhone, and joined the general melee for a power socket! We talked about the experience of constantly Tweeting (and other online interactions) whilst someone was giving a paper. Most presenters were quite happy with this, as they were the ones Tweeting when not presenting (even I didn’t manage both!), and the exceptionally brave ones kept an eye on the Twitterfall, and interacted with it.

Churches Media Council Conference
Once I overcame logging into the wireless network (there was no phone signal really to speak of), I had a great time Twittering about the event, along with a number of others, and having mini-tweet-ups, including meeting those I’d met before the event in person (always great – see, that’s why I talk BLENDED, not E-LEARNING). The event is quite rammed, and unlike many, I didn’t have a netbook, so tried to blog in the evening, but only managed a short entry on the first evening (trying to get agreement on a hashtag, and promoting the use of a Twitterfall – not quite this year, but it’ll be there next year), whilst it took a bit longer for the second entry, which was more of an overview of an event, and links across to others who had participated at the event.

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Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture  in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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