BlogTalk Day 2

The second day of BlogTalk was, I thought, much better than the first in terms of presentations. There was a lot more in it that I could get my teeth into, and a lot less academic stuff to go over my head.

Ben and Mena Trott’s keynote started the thing off, but although it was amusing and engaging, it wasn’t really very meaty. They made the point that traffic isn’t the be all and end all of blogging, and that small blogs are as valid as large popular ones. Well, what’s new in that? I had really hoped for something groundbreaking from them. They are in a unique position to provide some real insights into the blogging world, but they didn’t do that.

The outstanding talks were Lee Bryant’s paper on using blogging as part of a knowledge management solution for part of the NHS, which was funny, interesting and gave me a lot to think about; and Horst Prillinger’s paper on whether or not blogs are journalism, which contained an excellent summary of the differences between journalism and blogging.

The SubEthaEdit collaborative note taking continued throughout Day 2, and although I continued to peer over Steph’s shoulder, I again felt the lack of a Mac quite keenly, but by Anjo Anjewierden’s talk Steph’s fingers were achy so I took over the note taking. It was kinda weird at first because the keyboard was all strange, being of Swiss configuration, so I kept getting the y and the z the wrong way round.

The process of actually taking notes by hand is a very familiar one. You watch the speaker, scribble down key words and phrases, sometime sentences. Maybe you make diagrams. Maybe your mind wanders a bit and you miss stuff. With SubEthaEdit I found myself concentrating very hard on what was being said, almost transcribing it word for word. I stopped looking so much at the slides, and focused a lot harder, trying not to lose the thread of what was being said.

If you go to the wiki you will see a distinct difference between my note taking style, which starts in the middle of Panel 7, and everyone else’s. Mine are much more verbose, much longer. I am not sure if this is good or not. I type like a demon, but on a strange keyboard you can either have speed or accuracy but not both. It was really odd typing whilst someone else, I think Horst, came along behind me and tidied up my typos.

Anyway, Steph and I have been thinking quite a bit about this whole experience. I don’ t know if this sort of collaborative note taking is frequently done at other conferences, so if you’ve taken part in this sort of thing elsewhere, we would really like to know – leave a comment or email me.

Steph has also posted a more detailed history of what we did and asks some interesting questions. We would both like your feedback, so please do let us know what you think.

Right… I’m not done with this subject yet, but I am off to do a bit more sightseeing!

Previously posted on Chocolate and Vodka.