Congratulations to Ed Cone (www.edcone.com) and
the organizers of the 2004 Piedmont Blog Conference that took place today in Greensboro,
NC. The event was a huge success and provided some intelligent and thoughtful insights
into the worlds of political and journalistic blogging.
The conversations were definitely less technical than the BoF session at PDC I attended
in the fall. I didn’t hear a single argument over preferred syndication format. In
all, there were very few discussions about the software tools involved.
One of the software topics that was discussed was the use of comments, especially
in a political candidates blog. The primary concern was enforcing some sort of accountability
in the comments. Many felt that comments were too great of a risk while others felt
that the comments area is what enables a blog conversation. Interestingly enough there
were a couple of people in attendance that have no blogs of their own, and simply
participate in the community through comments on the sites of others.
The political attraction to blogs was largely as a method to quickly get a message
out, to a large number of people. During a break Jeff Thigpen, a currently running
for Registrar of Deeds (http://jlthigpen.blogspot.com)
gave ma a great example of how you may get a bunch of emails from a certain group
about a topic, but you have no way of sending an email back out to everybody that
may want to see it, where a blog gives you the ability to quickly respond and get
the word out.
The second session dealing with the media was very interesting, with a lot of discussion
about the difference between blogging and journalism, or if the two were, or could
be the same. In the end my favorite quote, and forgive me for not being able to credit
the individual that first said it, was that “blogging is a medium, journalism is a
craft”. There were some great stories shared about blog posts having an impact on
traditional media and their coverage of certain issues. The session was well represented
with a number of traditional journalists from local print and radio organizations.
One important topic that I think maybe deserved a little more coverage was the concept
that readership and credibility are earned. The concept of “journalistic credentials”
for bloggers came up a few times, but it was clear that just because you can write
it, doesn’t mean that the audience will listen.
The closing session touched briefly on the concept of community, and here in North
Carolina there is definitely a very active, very vocal, and very visible online community
that is is growing in strength and size, developing a very tight community.