Monday, October 16, 2006

Future Blogger Unconference Desiderata

After the success of Ed, Sue, and Ben's ConvergeSouth, I -- like TheShu -- have been having a few thoughts about what I would really like to see in future unconferences, if we're lucky enough to get them. (See Lenslinger's nice roundup of this year's event.)

At this year's unconference, Jim Rosenberg's insistence that session participants have a "take-away" set the bar high for future sessions. But it's a good high.

Based on that premise, and TheShus's questions, here's a fantasy program of some sessions I would like to attend.

Choosing Blog Software

Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, Moveable Type: which to choose? Bloggers experienced with these programs will demonstrate their pros and cons in terms of functionality, ease of use, service, and cost. Bring a laptop with a wireless card so you can experiment with sample templates.

Effective Videoblogging

An overview of what's new in videoblogging, with discussion of cameras, Windows & Mac hardware and software video editing, using YouTube and other free video posting sites, and video hosting. Tips on making the most effective videos with low-tech equipment. Session participants will produce a 2-minute video all the way from camera to blog.

Effective Blogpostwriting

What makes an effective blog post? Recognized bloggers will analyze their favorite posts as well as egregiously bad ones, and offer tips on good writing. The session cover a variety of posting styles, from the one-line linker to the mini-essay. Participants will come away with useful tips for better blog writing.

Blog Photography

Simple and basic photography techniques and digital photoprocessing for effective blog presentation. Learn how to choose a subject, shoot, and edit the photographs that will make your blog more appealing and more fun for you. Participants will shoot, upload, edit, and post photographs during the session.

Maybe these sessions will seem too basic for some, but I think part of the future of blogging lies in more people learning how to do the basics well.

The urge to blog arises from the fundamental urges to communicate and to express ourselves, and I am always interested in learning how to do those things better.


Bora Zivkovic said...

You are absolutely right. Just because we know this stuff and may be bored with it does not mean we should cut he branch we sit on - we need to work for the future, getting new people involved in blogging, especially young people like your brilliant son. Such "How-to" sessions should always be a part of a conference, perhaps in parallel with sessions on topics we may find more interesting on any given year.

Roch101 said...

Great ideas! I'd also like to see vendor exhibits that promote the technologies available to accomplish these things.

PotatoStew said...

"Session participants will produce a 2-minute video all the way from camera to blog."

That would be *very* cool.

Lenslinger said...

May I be the first to offer my services...

David Wharton said...

'Slinger, I was actually thinking specifically of you to teach us how to do effective, cheap video.

I'll be the first to sign up for your session!

Maybe Ms. Scheer could do something on still photography.

Anonymous said...

David, as it happens, this ties into some thoughts I was having this weekend along the lines of: Are we focusing too much on blogging per se at the expense of some of the other things that I understood to be part of Ben Hwang's vision for ConvergeSouth?

To realize Ben's vision, which is expansive, we need to go in several directions, not just one. But you list some excellent starting points that will be particularly helpful in nurturing and cultivating not just the Greensboro blogging community but also Greensboro community in general.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, apt ideas. Last weekend was my first ConvergeSouth; it was a very needed forum. As an amateur filmmaker in DC, I think your/Ben's vision toward more blogosphere basics - beyond traditional written word - is achievable & appropriate for ConvergeSouth III. My spouse & I will donate regularly online at the ConvergeSouth website to hopefully help make these next steps happen.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas above. At dinner on Sat. night, Maryam suggested a model of a conference she did in WA a year or so ago. Two days; one day an unconference and one day implementation, which included a fee for that day only. Requires more presenters, smaller groups, more classrooms - all do-able.

What do you think of paying a fee for part of ConvergeSouth?

BTW, hopefully by Weds a.m., the ConvergeSouth site will have a new face.

David Wharton said...

I would be willing to pay a fee, but I think a lot of the costs for hands-on tech stuff could also be carried by vendors if we let them show their ware.

Bill 'Billopad' Wood said...

Sue asked about these types of things before the conference - I was hoping to have something ready, called 'Blogging on a Stick' using thumb drives - I have this 4 GB one with P-Start and a bunch of OSS wares on it that about makes a PC in a pocket here and now.

Anonymous said...

It was a small shame that the CS unconference couldn't bend to deal wit the RMA issue. It seems like "unconferences" were designed to deal with a real time discussion of a breaking real world event. look at the backblast of the RMA release. Imagine having discussed the issues - like those that drove the Greensboro101 resignations - just prior to the release itself.

Flexibility - designed in...

Rob Ainbinder said...

Yep, I was wondering the same thing...I thought there would be more tools and less philosphy.
Let the vendors pick up for presenting their tools. This is blogging, it's about transparency after all.