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.