Wiki wiki bus and conference blogging
There are things that can make you smile after 2 flights, 18 hours in planes, jetlag and all other things that I'd call downside of travel. This time it was a sign at Honolulu airport with directions to "Wiki wiki shuttle bus" (is case you didn't know - wiki wiki is Hawaiian term for "quick" or "super-fast" :)
Anyway, I'm at HICSS, it's still 3 January despite of the fact that Radio on my server will put it on 4th, HICSS wifi works (not everywhere and not all the time :), so I guess I'd be blogging. But before I get into anything else, a great piece on conference blogging from Gabriela:
Why do we spend time on this? It is really time consuming and hard to locate all these people and places and papers in order to add the necessary links to the posts, besides the editing of your own conference notes. And it interferes with our day-to-day work, and makes us put off some other tasks. Do we want to show off- look, we've been there!? Do we want to impose the world our perspective on things? Are we doing it for ourselves or for the sake of our readers? I'm not really sure. I've been writing this kind of reports ever since I attended my first international conference for my own use - writing down names, ideas, references. The fact that now I have the chance to blog them and to link to what other people said makes them a lot richer.
In the last week, two persons had a similar reaction to my blogging itch: OK, that's nice, I can understand your need to reflect upon an event afterwards as a chance to learn more, even to keep a diary on it, but why show it to the whole world? Why publishing it? What's the use of sharing this kind of knowledge?
Well, hoarding this knowledge wouldn't bring me any benefit. And if it's not interesting for my readers, they will be so wise to skip it. As for the ones who are not my readers and are not interested in the subject, it won't hurt them at all, because they will probably never find out it about it existence. So who's the target group?
-People who were there, and want to continue the conversation in the first place.
-People who didn't get the chance to be there, but they would have loved to.
-Some others interested in the topics discussed there who did not find out about the event.
-Scholars and students studying the topic in the years to come.
To me, it sounds motivating enough.
And I would compare ourselves with cartographers rather than with historians - we're trying to map the reality (not only facts, but also people and ideas) on the web. We're actually building a double, that will remain accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, for years from now on.
Having the chance to meet someone whose ideas are already familiar to you shortens significantly the time to having a meaningful conversation - and this is very important. Real life conversations continue via blogs, social networking systems, Skype, participation in wiki editing, virtual environments.
Conference blogging is always a balance: finding a ways to combine your personal goals and informing your readers, choices between f2f time and time needed to reflect and write, balancing fun of being in the flow of discussions and discipline of writing things down. Don't know how it will go this time, but I'll try...