Getting it Right: Forrester Consumer Forum 2006 & Conference Blogging

by Marianne Richmond on October 29, 2006

David Armano at Logic+Emotion was the first to blog about how important it was that not only did Forrester have a conference blog at the Forrester Consumer Forum 2006 but they invited two non-employees to attend and blog the event. (Full disclosure: I was one of the bloggers along with Christopher Carfi and the conference fee was waived).

David explained that this was significant because it was Forrester and wrote, "Forrester is still perceived as "The Source"….the reports, data, and studies they produce quickly become "Holy Grail. So, you can bet that when they open up a significant conference like this to bloggers–us corporate office dwellers will take notice." He added that Forrester realized that the conference would be blogged anyway so why not invite bloggers to blog on their turf.

Today, David addressed the issue again in light of Nielson Buzz-Metrics directive that their CGM Summit was "Off the Record" and would not allow blogging. Greg Verdino, VP/Emerging Media Channels at Digitas, who attended both the Forrester and Buzz Metrics Conferences asked the question on his blog, "Hmmm….so how can you host an event about consumer generated media and not let your consumers, um, generate media?" Good question.

Steve Rubel , inspired by the contrast between Forrester and Nielson Buzz Metrics, asked this question on his blog today: Should Conferences Ban Blogging? He answered with his opinion which was that although he could understand both "sides" of the issue, he agreed with Gregg on his point that it was a disconnect that an event about consumer generated content was banning consumer generated content. He then added "On the one hand, if you let bloggers write about a customer conference, there’s little need for anyone to pay to attend." Huh??

Several comments to Steve’s blog post point out, there are other reasons that people attend conferences besides the content. For instance, I am a huge fan of David Armano’s blog, Logic+Emotion; getting a chance to meet David face to face and to talk with him and Chris Carfi was a delightful experience.

Importantly, to imagine that bloggers could translate an entire conference to a point that attendence would be unnecessary is just silly. There were two full days of presentations and three tracks of breakout sessions; it would be completely impossible for two bloggers to be at all the sessions; furthermore, even with a blogger in every session, what you are getting is the bloggers interpretation of the speaker’s presentation which includes their perspective, their interests, and their relationship with the presenter and the present’s topic. That is not a replacement for the presentation.

So, why do we think that Forrester gets it right? The whole conference was themed "Humanizing the Digital Experience." Blogs humanize the digital experience. Adding social media to a digital experience increases engagment. Having a conference blog in a sense humanizes the digital experience by adding a personal note, a personal perspective to the communication of the content. By setting up their own blog, they are enabling bloggers to blog and adding a two way conversation to the conference.

When Charlene Li talks about social computing she says right out, its not about the technology, its about relationships enabled by technology. Relationships are a big part of conferences. If you put the concept of humanizing the digital experience together with social computing you can see why Forrester would have a conference blog.

Further, by inviting bloggers, they are providing a live demonstration of social computing to their clients that attended the conference; the attendees were not bloggers. For the most part, they were corporations.
The question is: Why doesn’t Buzzmetrics seem to walk their talk?ÂÂ

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Getting it Right: Forrester Consumer Forum 2006 & Conference Blogging

by Marianne Richmond on October 29, 2006

David Armano at Logic+Emotion was the first to blog about how important it was that not only did Forrester have a conference blog at the Forrester Consumer Forum 2006 but they invited two non-employees to attend and blog the event. (Full disclosure: I was one of the bloggers along with Christopher Carfi and the conference fee was waived).

David explained that this was significant because it was Forrester and wrote, "Forrester is still perceived as "The Source"….the reports, data, and studies they produce quickly become "Holy Grail. So, you can bet that when they open up a significant conference like this to bloggers–us corporate office dwellers will take notice." He added that Forrester realized that the conference would be blogged anyway so why not invite bloggers to blog on their turf.

Today, David addressed the issue again in light of Nielson Buzz-Metrics directive that their CGM Summit was "Off the Record" and would not allow blogging. Greg Verdino,  VP/Emerging Media Channels at Digitas, who attended both the Forrester and Buzz Metrics Conferences asked the question on his blog, "Hmmm….so how can you host an event about consumer generated media and not let your consumers, um, generate media?" Good question.

Steve Rubel ,  inspired by the contrast between Forrester and Nielson Buzz Metrics, asked this question on his blog today: Should Conferences Ban Blogging? He answered with his opinion which was that although he could understand both "sides" of the issue, he agreed with Gregg on his point that it was a disconnect that an event about consumer generated content was banning consumer generated content. He then added "On the one hand, if you let bloggers write about a customer conference, there’s little need for anyone to pay to attend."  Huh??

Several comments to Steve’s blog post point out,  there are other reasons that people attend conferences besides the content. For instance, I am a huge fan of David Armano’s blog, Logic+Emotion; getting a chance to meet David face to face and to talk with him and Chris Carfi was a delightful experience.

Importantly, to imagine that bloggers could translate an entire conference to a point that attendence would be unnecessary is just silly. There were two full days of presentations and three tracks of breakout sessions; it would be completely impossible for two bloggers to be at all the sessions; furthermore, even with a blogger in every session, what you are getting is the bloggers interpretation of the speaker’s presentation which includes their perspective,  their interests, and their relationship with the presenter and the present’s topic. That is not a replacement for the presentation.

So, why do we think that Forrester gets it right? The whole conference was themed "Humanizing the Digital Experience." Blogs humanize the digital experience. Adding social media to a digital experience increases engagment. Having a conference blog in a sense humanizes the digital experience by adding a personal note, a personal perspective to the communication of the content. By setting up their own blog, they are enabling bloggers to blog and adding a two way conversation to the conference.

When Charlene Li talks about social computing she says right out, its not about the technology, its about relationships enabled by technology. Relationships are a big part of conferences. If you put the concept of humanizng the digital experience together with social computing you can see why Forrester would have a conference blog.

Further, by inviting bloggers, they are providing a live demonstration of social computing  to their clients that attended the conference; the attendees were not bloggers. For the most part, they were corporations.

The question is: Why doesn’t Buzzmetrics seem to walk their talk? 


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