Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tech Blogging Event

This is a cross post of something that also appears on the Schwartz Crossroads Blog, where I am also a contributor.

I'm tired of going to events in which someone stands up and says "So, can you tell me what exactly defines a blog?"

Yes, this is an important question for someone just coming to the table, but many of us are well beyond that and the discussion is now about more high-level topics, such as "how are the current crop of blogs affecting coverage?" and "how can bloggers, reporters and PR people work together?"

That's what last night's great event at the Cambridge Innovation Center was all about. Scott Kirsner put together a great group of panelists, including Bijan Sabet, venture capitalist at Spark Capital; Barbara Heffner of CHEN PR; Don Dodge, director of business development at Microsoft; Jimmy Guterman, editor of Release 2.0 and blogger at O'Reilly Radar; Scott Kirsner, who writes the Boston Globe "Innovation Economy" column; and Nabeel Hyatt, CEO of Conduit Labs. Both Schwartz Communications and CHEN PR sponsored the event, as well as Morse Barnes-Brown & Pendleton and the Cambridge Innovation Center.

The panel was just a start, as I was charged with running around the room to bring in discussion from others attending the event. Dan Bricklin has a few pictures as well as the full podcast up, so rather than me running through the whole thing, go and have a listen.

Discussion items included:

  • Why do you blog?
  • What is your most popular post?
  • How addicted are you to statistics?
  • Where do journalistic ethics come into play?
  • What does blogging do for your business?
  • How do you maintain an authentic voice?
  • How do people who cannot write well engage in this environment?
  • What role do edited blogs (like this one) have both in the corporation and in the blogosphere in general?
  • Can you do a "news" announcement only through social media?

Don Dodge shared great pieces of advice--both of which I violated on my various blogs--that he received from Robert Scoble.

First: include your own name in the name of the blog. Of my personal blogs only two have any part of my name involved, the Tanoblog and Tanophoto. And second: include your picture. While my picture is on my Schwartz bio, it is not on my Media Metamorphosis page, which may be why Paul Gillin didn't include my name in his roundup of the event.

I also enjoyed the discussion on edited blogs, in which Nabeel noted how the corporate blog at Conduit is, in fact, edited. The point is to have a common voice and to acknowledge that the company must come first, in this context. But also it's because there are people within the organization who have great thoughts when they're standing at the whiteboard, but do not have the ability to express themselves in writing. In this case the editing process is not about sanitizing the content, but about saying to those who are more self-conscious, "hey, we've got your back."

I found the ethics discussion to be among the most interesting and will be writing more on that later. But let me just share this from Don Dodge on conflict of interest: "No conflict, no interest."

On a personal note, I got a chance to meet David Laubner, who writes the excellent 93South blog, one I've been reading for some time.

In all, a great discussion of some of the primary issues facing modern tech journalism. I'm sure there will be more discussion on the various Boston-based tech blogs, but the podcast is probably the most complete recounting of the event. Though, not everyone identified themselves before speaking, so it sometimes be tough to follow.


David said...

It was great to meet you as well - I look forward seeing you at the next event.

Isabel Hilborn said...

Thanks for the great coverage - I RSVP'd to go to this event but just couldn't make it after a long day, so it's good (well, bittersweet actually) to see what I missed.