Nielsen banned blogging at a recent conference leading Steve Rubel to ask “Should Conferences Ban Blogging?” I think a much better question is this:
Should Blogging ban Conferences?
Over the last 18 months or so I’ve made a point of attending several internet-related conferences. Some were informative, some fun but one of the most important things I took away was how much more I could have learned by simply spending an equal amount of time in careful online study of new developments.
This was even true at the best conference format from the superb UNconferences held by Dave Berlind and Doug Gold in Mountain View. So, why am I heading down to their latest effort, Startup Camp, next Wednesday and Thursday? … Well, it’s because conferences are a very enjoyable way to meet people and learn a few new tricks and “get out” from the somewhat nonsocial work environments in which many online professionals dwell much of the time, especially independents like me.
But blogging those conferences is really enjoyable, creates highly relevant new content for the web, and most importantly spreads the word to people who can’t attend due to expense or distance or whatever.
The idea of conferences banning blogging is very shortsighted from the conference’s financial success perspective since blogging is free publicity for next year and will encourage the growing legions of citizen journalists to attend.
FAR more importantly, Banning blogging is also turning the internet efficiency on it’s head and suggesting that the goal of conferences is the greedy monetization of the conference itself, rather than the appropriate monetization of the education and social experience.
Hey conferences – if you have something worth saying, it’s worth your attendees blogging about it.
UPDATE: Max has a thoughtful reply, though I don’t agree:
Max this is a thoughtful argument and correctly separates this case from normal conference blogging as I failed to do in my critical post.
However I remain skeptical of any anti-blogging policy since it defies a new open standard that suggests blogging keeps the online world humming along nicely. This appears to be too close to asserting that it’s OK to profit from online communities and activities with no obligation to share insights with that same community.