Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blogging philanthropy conferences

Ironically, I lost my wireless connection at Google on Thursday and lost several posts. Herein, a recreation of some of them.

Having worked with staff of the Council on Foundations staff to get access to cover their annual conference (April 29-May 1) and been granted media access (as a blogger) to both the Global Philanthropy Forum and the Investors Circle Spring Conference (May 23-24) I have a few thoughts to add to the discussion Sean started over at TacticalPhilanthropy.

Some observations (which seem relevant given the latest buzz about a blogger's code of conduct):

  • Conversations had while blogging are different from conversations had while schmoozing in hallways. I think its important to notify the person I am speaking with that their every thought may soon find its way to the Internet.
  • Introducing myself as "press" seems to be met with a mix of skepticism and a desire to talk. Introducing myself as the President of Blueprint Research & Design is met with the question, "what's that, how do we work together?"
  • A lot of people at this conference "don't know from blogs," "don't read blogs," "what's a blog?" So much for the Mercury News' observation that everyone at this conference is sooooo Silicon Valley.
  • Assuming wireless, bloggers who can type fast can create an inside/outside conversation - I can post speakers comments, readers write in, and I can ask their questions. See the comments that were posted on earlier posts from yesterday.
  • None of this is new in context of the old media/new media yabber that has been going on for last six+ years. It is new for philanthropy - it is a step toward transparency that few funders are used to.
  • This transparency is good, foundation executives can jump in and be part of it - there is no need to be afraid, this is not about putting back on the Imus on the air. Its about a conversation.


Sean Stannard-Stockton said...

Blending the online and offline conversation is a key step for philanthropic transparency. Just as the conferences are inviting the online conversation into their midst, it's time for the philanthropy blogs to invite the offline conversation to join our own. I'll be experimenting with some ways to accomplish this in the next edition of The Giving Carnival.

Anonymous said...

Lucy - brilliant post. I was at Skoll, and it was a moderately wired crowd (or so I thought) - yet "blogger" was greeted with a mix of surprise and interest. Same at Clinton last year. It's fascinating. I totally agree on transparent self-identification - only ethical way to play it for conversations outside of panels. Enjoying your coverage. Say hello to Janice Schoos from our staff, who's sending me blog posts to put up....

Anonymous said...

Hey Lucy,

Another tool that might be useful for you when you are liveblogging at conferences is Twitter. Folks at the South by SouthWest and ETech Conferences were using it to good effect. You can also send text messages to your twitter feed. It's great for those situations when you have a cell signal and no wireless.