Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What exactly IS a blogmeet? More questions than answers

Not just because Rosby reasonably asked the question, but also because the idea of what a blogmeet is or should be was raised both on Saturday and since in comments on this blog and via emails to me.

So, first things first:

What is a Blogmeet?
a gathering together of bloggers; you know, MEETING some place or other in the flesh, face-to-face as opposed to behind their blogger identity masks (NB this can be subverted if you have [a] never posted a picture of yourself [b] not used your 'real' name and / or [c] want to confuse people by claiming to be someone else. I can say that all three can be used to success should you so desire...)

What should a blogmeet be (about?)?
more difficult... should it be informal and chatty, conversational and potentially disparate? The Manchester blogmeet took place in an open bar and a public space, which meant collecting people within earshot of each other was quite a challenge and inevitably everyone split off into smaller groups and moved around to talk to others as they felt appropriate. Would a space with a central table have been better, to get everyone around it talking to everyone? Would an agenda help? Should there be tasks? Or opportunities to try new things (technology demonstrations?) Or questions to debate?

What should happen at a blogmeet?
related to the above question. Some commentators were outraged that there was so much tea-drinking at the Manchester blogmeet (the implication being there should be more alcohol). Manchester was gloriously informal - a chance to meet and chat, not necessarily about blogging, and to find out more about the people behind the blognames. Some have indicated they wanted to have more structure to any such meeting: some goals or objectives, or just even some questions to discuss (see above).

Ultimately, it should be up to the bloggers themselves to decide on what form and content a blogmeet should have. Perhaps, we need different types of blogmeets for different purposes? There is a place for the social meeting - quite like Manchester, though that isn't to say that issues were not discussed, it was just not formally part of the proceedings. Perhaps there also needs to be a place for more structured meetings, with topics, issues or specific debates in mind.

You decide.


Chern Jie said...

Well said, Lisa. Blogmeet is different from a blog conference, nobody needs to prepare a presentation or anything. It's just for fun.

I think Clare did a great job organising it, it turned out just the way everyone likes it.

Gordon said...

The last two Scottish blogmeets have followed similar patterns.

Meet "strangers" in a pub. Spend all afternoon in their company, drinking, laughing and generally just talking about anything at all.

Wake up the next morning with a fuzzy head, a notepad with random words scribbled on it, and the recollection that you spent a LOT of time laughing but with no idea why..

Focussed blogmeets are possible, but I think you'd need a starting point, a "community" type website or something... "Manchester Photographers who blog" or somesuch. THOSE blogmeets could involve more than just sitting around chatting.

I think some people on Flickr already do that though... meet up I mean.. and spend an afternoon wandering photo hotspots.

Ohh this gives me an idea (well, builds on an existing one..) Ohh yes, this could be great!

Rob said...

The Manchester BM (aka MB....) was the first I'd been to, and I thought it was just great, and pretty much the way I'd imagined blogmeets would be. I can't quite imagine one with an agenda: that would be a meeting, but not, I think, a blogmeet. Bloggers, at least in the area of the blogosphere that I chiefly inhabit, trade fairly unstructured opinion and comment, and I think a BM should reflect that. Maybe if I were a purely political blogger I'd want a BM that focused on my special interest; but I'm not.

And I didn't feel short of alcohol! Those who wanted beer seemed to be drinking it (including me later on).