Why being "on the ground" with social media matters.
October 03, 2011
This might be a tad controversial. Bloggers avert your eyes.
Live blogging while PCM is "on the ground" involes very little typing of more than 140 characters at a time. The transcription and live typing disturbs me slightly and seems to be emerging from congenitally non dyslexic unfortunates. We do not live in a world of text. I'm not saying it doesn't have a place but stenographers are experts in this field and reporters need to at least listen to the speaker before forming a critical opinion. Conference channeling though a blogger, plugged in to a laptop is all kinds of wrong.
I've delivered a talk commisioned by Sylwia Presley of nfpVoice and Oxford Girl Geek Diners twice now called Beyond Text. How blogging can be more than text. Below are the rough notes. The first time this was delivered over Skype so I had the opportunity of a cue sheet. "Beyond Text" will feature in my next set of PCM Master Classes.
Developing a practice of media making for the social web and making sense of the miltitude of ambient streams is a craft. You can't say for certain how anyone percieves a conversation stream or who is watching a tagged stream. It's not just about volume and clarity as with aural listening but also interperative there is no intonation apart from punctuation, no emotional tones. The only certainty is the sound of your own voice heard by you.
I am not a writer, a journalist or reporter. Text is not my primary social medium. If I'm honest textual content of not my strongest suit. This doesn't hinder me however as I am a curator, an aggregator and connector my strengths come to the fore when media is habitually generated. It's Glimpses, responses, snapshots and moments a remote audience want to see. The ambient content, the buzz delegates conjur, the excitement and inspiration that explodes from the conference hall, from the session rooms, from the break-out spaces.
To capture the habitual and the ambient you need to prepare the net. Even with a butterfly net you still need to know where the butterflies will be. Its also a good idea to know what spicies you intend to showcase. My stategy outline template is Plan, Prepare, Capture, Review, Report. The set up is invaluable.
Blogging is a reflective medium. Text documents action. Real time action demands snapshots, streams and conversation. The experience 'on the ground' is what you pay for, to BE there. The role of an event blogger or online media curator is to host the digital divide to provide an experience of comparable interest.
I was asked recently to "come and blog" and "can you blog live on our website". I can't report on an event before it's taken place or even as it's taking place. If it is purely a archival process to kill two birds with one stone it has a role but to engage social media specialists the conversation is key before, during and after an event.
What this blog post is trying to say is that social media for events, especially with a PCM "on the ground" team should be intergrated in to your over all planning infastructure. I've plotted an interweaving social media support structure and would love to share it in all it's glory. But then you wouldn't need me! I am going to use it a a tool of help event organisers. You'll have to wait just a litttle while.