I find it a bit ironic that as a journalist, whose article includes a segment on “the blogger as citizen journalist,” he (awkwardly) jumps around the who, what, where, when and how of the conference and sessions he attended – and entirely misses the why. From what little I remember of my own short forays into journalism, the why is the integral part of the article – the part that makes people care about reading the other 4 W’s.
Tupper writes that “[t]he soft glow of laptop and handheld screens in the lecture hall made it clear to me that this was a gathering of the early adopters. I felt a moment of technological inferiority, clutching my steno pad and cassette recorder.” I would assume from that remark that Tupper was brand new to blogging and had come to the conference to learn more about the medium. However a quick google search reveals that he’s been blogging since at least mid-2004, knows enough to have a Creative Commons License, and should be able to at least attempt to answer some of the questions he sets out asking in his article, especially since he asserts that “[c]onferences like Northern Voice are where people try to answer those questions.” Alas, no answers were to be found.
Instead, Tupper offers inadequate and incoherent summaries of what he pulled from the different speakers. He leaves the question of “why blog?” unanswered, then moves to speak briefly about the fact that RSS exists, though he never mentions exactly what it is, save for an aisde that “The development of the RSS standard is an unusually convoluted story.” It only gets worse from there on in.
I started this post having skimmed his article, and intended to read a bit deeper to hopefully pull some value out of it and point others to the posting when I myself am asked “What is a Blogging Conference anyway, and why did you go?”
Instead, I’m left wondering if his impression is an accurate reflection of what someone on the “outside” of blogging really sees: a bunch of technophiles, using confusing tools in a confusing way, to spread information inadequately – or so says the final section of his article explaining why American journalistic-style bloggers are so much better than their Canadian counterparts.
Personally, I learned a lot at the conference about what I feel my blog may be lacking, and how I’d like to take it to the next level. The only reason I haven’t posted my notes is that others have already done a much better job of it (find feeds to their notes here). I wouldn’t exactly call myself an early adopter – I’ve only been at this for about two years now – but I like to think I have a grasp on the concept of blogging, if not all of the accompanying technologies. From what I gathered, my peers felt much the same way about the sessions they attended (many of whom have been blogging much longer than I have).
But did Northern Voice miss addressing the “what is a blog?” segment of attendees? Were there enough of them in attendance to merit that kind of content? Did we as bloggers unintentionally exclude those new to the genre? Was the conference even marketed as a “find out about blogging” event – as opposed to an “improve your blogging skillset” event? (Juding from the audience response to Tim Bray‘s question “how many of you have a blog?” I would assume the latter – please correct me if I’m wrong…)
But Tupper doesn’t bring any of that into his hodge-podge summary. I’d be much more interested in hearing whether or not Mr. Tupper actually had his questions answered at the end of the day, and if he found value in the conference or not as a self-confessed late(r) adopter of blogging.
I’m hoping Tupper was just having a bad-writing day, and actually got more out of the conference than he indicates in the article, that the questions he posed were answered, and he took away some useful tools for his own blogging experience. Otherwise to the community of blogging enthusiasts and evangelists everywhere, I need to say Lucy, we gots some ‘splainin’ to do!