Event Journalism Evolves

    January 6, 2006

Shel Israel talks about the disruption of his own business:

Way back when the blogosphere was young, in April 2004, I wrote a piece called: “Will blogging kill Conferenza?” As I recall it was the first time that two A-listers, Ross Mayfield and David Weinberger ever linked to me, which as I recall, made me ecstatic–except for the fact the posting questioned whether Conferenza Premium Reports, a high-quality newsletter of which I was and am editor in chief could survive a new wave of competition from an odd and unruly lot that called themselves “bloggers.” Back then, Conferenza pretty well held the center of my passion even if it didn’t pay very many bills That’s just one way it resembles blogging for me.

Conferenza covers the top tier technology conferences every year such as PC Forum, Demo, Poptech, D, TED and so on. Increasingly at these events, I would find myself surrounded by this band of upstarts like Ross, David and Doc, who were showing up, sitting next to me and writing about the very same conferences. Except these bloggers were publishing even as speakers were winding up their talks. And these new competitors were giving–the content away.

Conversely, Conferenza usually published a week later, and we did a remarkable job in my biased opinion of telling the whole story of the conference in terms of what was said on the dais, what the audience thought of it and what the complications were. We went through pains to report on candid attendee views. We even linked to these upstart bloggers and quoted them. The Conferenza newsletters often went over 10,000 words and were designed for executives to read in an hour’s time or so, there has always been something very conversational about Conferenza, something very bloglike.

I remember Shel and Gary acknowledging that conference bloggers were going to put Conferenza out of it’s current form of business as far back as the first Always On event. It is a shame, however, as it served a needed niche and their long form of content was really well done. Will be interesting to see what new form evolves on their new blog (subscribed).

Beyond conference blogging, wikis are enabling all attendees to their own views. Socialtext has provided Eventspaces for almost 75 seminars, conferences and trade shows now and it’s become a kind of industry standard. What’s interesting is that it is not a product, but a service, and we are still the only team with a track record for wiki facilitation.

Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.