Conference blogging continues to fill a strange niche. In many ways, conference tweeting is overtaking it; far more people actively tweet events these days than blog them. Events I’ve participated in have taken a mixed approach to welcoming bloggers, from those that treat bloggers like press to those that don’t welcome them at all.
I was going to take part in one event recently as a blogger, and then I saw this message:
There will be reserved seating for bloggers in the front of the ballroom. Please note that live video streaming of the event is prohibited. And while we welcome your comments and analysis of the event via your blog and Twitter, out of respect for the hundreds of people who have paid to attend the conference, we request that you do not live blog a “running transcript” of the event.
In short, the policy rubbed me the wrong way. I had a long exchange with the person who sent it to me, and the policy held firm. I wound up not attending the event.
Here’s an excerpt of my response:
…When I have to sit there and wonder if I'm covering a session too much because it's really interesting, it's just not worth my time, and it sets a really bad precedent. It's like I'm getting censored because I type too fast and the content's too good… While many bloggers wouldn't care about the restriction since they wouldn't try to live blog it, it does set a dangerous precedent.
Meanwhile, if people who aren't there think they can get their money's worth from an event by reading a transcript – not even a verbatim, completely comprehensive transcript at that – perhaps you should cancel the events and sell the transcripts. That's not where the value is, and as a blogger I'm only adding to it, both for those who attend and those who don't, rather than taking anything away and diluting the value.
I’m leaving the name of the event out as I don’t want to malign the conference organizer or the event, both of which I respect. But I do want to hear from others who have blogged conferences if you’ve seen policies like this or any other. Do you know of any event policies that others should emulate? Have you ever declined attending an event as a blogger because of its policy?