On Social Reporting

David Wilcox, the godfather of the social reporting concept, has written up his reflections from a couple of days spent at an event in Portugal:

What was unusual, in my experience, was that we had the benefit of a three person team, a good base at the venue, and another team led by Richard Jolly doing the really hard work of capturing more formal interviews with the main speakers. That left us to concentrate on the informal…

We were fortunate in having a work space with power and good wifi, in the middle of the venue. People could find us.

You can find the content from David’s team’s efforts on the event blog.

I’ve just finished a similar gig in Sweden for Cisco, where I was the lone social reporter, but with a remit to try and galvanise some of the delegates to give it a go themselves. I was very lucky to identify Rui Grilo (coincidence that Rui himself is Portugese?) early on in proceedings – Rui clearly got what it was we were trying to achieve and was soon contributing via Twitter, Flickr and the conference blog. Lev Gonick also contributed via Twitter and his own blog (all content tagged with cisco08 was also aggregated on our event blog, through Google Blogsearch’s RSS feeds).

One thing I was pleased about was the layout of the site we used, which managed to capture all the new content with a nice dashboard feel. It being displayed on screens around the venues helped – it really helped delegates get a feel for what was being said.

I would have liked to have done more video interviews than I managed, but being on my tod made it difficult. I did have a couple of Flip cameras to lone out to anyone wanting to help out, but I think that such was the quality of the sessions at the event at the networking inbetween that no-one really had the time to do it!

Overall, though, I think my efforts in Stockholm were a success, and adds to the work that David has done in proving that having a social reporting element is vital for any conference. This is because:

  • It gives a voice to those attending the event, with a direct live feedback loop to event organisers and speakers, etc (if they choose to listen!)
  • They help delegates who are not engaged with the social web find out what is being said online about the event they are attending
  • It can provide background material to place sessions into context
  • It gets content online much quicker for those not attending to be able to view – eg my pretty bad Flip recordings of sessions were available online within a few hours of the sessions ending
  • It also gives those not in attendance the chance to contribute by leaving comments, etc

Many thanks to Paul Johnston of Cisco for inviting me along. Paul is one of those behind Cisco’s community for those who want to make government a little more collaborative, called The Connected Republic. Closing the circle, Paul was interviewed a while ago by one David Wilcox at an event about what this initiative is all about. You can watch it here.

7 thoughts on “On Social Reporting”

  1. thanks, dave, you did a fantastic job. I think the user-generated site captured the excitement of the event really well and will have had a significant impact on delegates who up til then had not had much exposure to Web 2.0. I think the most dramatic impact was Twitter with lots of people who had not got into this before trying it and being impressed with what it can do! I also thought your video-ing the presentations was a great idea and certainly much quicker than what we will be. tks again for your great contribution.

  2. I thought that the stellar work done by yourself at Cisco was fascinating and, personally, an eye opener for myself as to the possibilities of the social web that I hadn’t conceived before. In fact, days after your Swedish adventure I had a job review at work where I mentioned the Cisco website as a brilliant example of the kind of thing we could be looking to do. I’m getting sole ownership of the website in the New Year (fear and excitement in equal measures) and I am looking to bring in a lot more social aspects to the proceedings. Still after one of those Flip’s, too 🙂

  3. @Paul – thanks for your kind words! I really hope we managed to whip up some genuine enthusiasm for these tools, and to get people thinking about how they can be applied to their work in government.

    @Andrew – wow, that’s really great feedback and I’m pleased that our efforts in Stockholm inspired you to put some new ideas to the powers that be! Best of luck with the website – the redesign looks great and it’s always fun to have some interactive bits!

  4. Thanks for the mention Dave – can’t yet match your WordPressing and solo performances though! Integration with onsite screens sounds good. Definitely a social artist, or maybe social magician …

  5. David – always happy to share. I ought to write my experience up on the Social Reporter Wiki. Looks like there are different models starting to develop here for covering events, whether solo, in a team, getting delegates involved, etc.

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