UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Being Blogged At An Event

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 Dec 2006

On Friday 1st December 2006 I gave a talk on “Web 2.0: An Introduction” at a seminar organised by the CILIP UCRG (Yorkshire and Humberside Region). As I’ve been doing for the past couple of years my opening slide gave explicit permission for attendees to exploit networked application during my talk – for example, to Blog my talk, to discuss the talk with others using chat software or to record or broadcast my talk. PowerPoint Title slide.

I was pleased when Sheila Webber, during her talk on Blogs and Blogging in Libraries, brought up her Blog page which showed that she had Blogged my talk. More accurately, I should probably say that I was pleased but slightly apprehensive! Sheila, however, said nothing in her Blog for me to be apprehensive about – but it did make me wonder about the etiquette of Blogging at events, and how possible conflicts should be addressed. From one point of view, if a WiFi network is available during an event, an attendee with a laptop or PDA would be inclined to make use of it to make notes, to follow up examples given during a talk, etc. To make notes on a Blog is, surely, not fundamentally different from making notes in MS Word. But I suspect from a legal perspective there may be differences. More importantly, though, is whether there will be felt to be differences from a cultural perspective. How will lecturers feel about students Blogging their talk? Will this become a frowned-upon activity, similar to using a mobile phone at an event?

I think I will continue to explicitly encourage openness by stating my views on the title slide of my talks. Is this something others seek to emulate, or am I in a minority?

5 Responses to “Being Blogged At An Event”

  1. It fascinates me that you do this. Perhaps for the audience you typically talk to it’s more relevant – I can’t imagine that any statement like this (or banning reproduction) to a presentation in front of students (am I allowed to say ‘net generation’ ?) would make the blindest bit of difference to people who’ve grown up with it. Just witness the infringement on YouTube, bittorrent, etc.

    Maybe lecturers will really start complaining when the students start recording their lectures on their mobile phones? The latest Nokia has a 4GB HDD and a 2MP camera, for example – easily enough to fully record an hour’s talk.

  2. Hi Phil
    Thanks for the reply.
    I’ve just looked back through my old presentations and it seems that I provided an AUP on the title slide for the first time at a Web 2.0 talk at King’s College London 27 January 2006. In this seminar I recorded my talk (and the organisers also videoed it). In order to clarify the rights issue (and to avoid having to sign forms) I gave permission to record the talk on tht title slide.
    I would agree that in practice it is likely to be difficult to prevent people from recording / broadcasting talks. However I think it is good practice toavoid possible uncertainties by being explicit about the rights. And talk to a legal expert and they will emphasise this.

  3. Hi
    I’m fresh from a talk on Copyright that Graham Cornish was giving our students this afternoon, so I feel confident that I’m not infringing copyright by presenting my thoughts about someone’s talk in my blog, since that is my right as author of the notes. I suppose I might be infringing the presenter’s moral rights, if I misrepresented his or her views, though it seems that UK law doesn’t actually cover moral rights very well. However if I recorded it and mounted the recordingT on my blog without permission, I’d be infringing the presenter’s intellectual property rights, although I would still own the rights to the recording itself. At least (and I don’t want to misrepresent Graham here) that was my understanding. Also if the student recorded it and passed it round to his/her friends without permission, I THINK that would be infringing rights too, if it counted as “communicating to the public”. So, thinking about it, perhaps it IS something I should be thinking about in my lectures.

    However, you may be talking more about the irritation of having my audience going clickety clack on their laptops whilst they ought to be concentrating on me? Or perhaps they are just making manifest the fact that often an audience is thinking about something else a lot of the time during talks – sometimes their own reflections on something you’ve just said, sometimes not. … Personally I would find it hard to write to a blog coherently AT THE SAME TIME as I was listening to a talk, but perhaps others can manage it. hmmm, it’s an interesting one.


  4. Hi Sheila
    Thanks for your comments.
    I have been involved in providing an environment in which talks can be recorded for a coupleof years now, and for the past year have drawn attention to the issues, primarily to surface discussion and debate on the pros and cons of doing this – because the technology is now available and becoming more widey used (e.g. mobile phones which can record). We now have Web 2.0 and, arguably, Students 2.0 (or however you want to refer to them) – but lecturer 2.0 is fairly scarce, I would argue.
    I’ve written various briefing papers on this subject:

    Guidelines For Exploiting WiFi Networks At Events

    Exploiting Networked Applications At Events

    although these are focussed on events such as conferences, rather than student teaching.

    It does strike me that the ethics of this (including issues such as being noisy) might be an interesting issue to raise with your students. Does this relate to the ethical aspects of an information literacy strategy?

    Also note that at some of my larger events, I’ve tried to get feedback on use of technologies at events. This has been mostly very positive (note, though, that mine tends to be a techie audience). The most recent evaluation is availalable at:

    At one event one or two people commented on the noise of people typing during talks. I did wonder whether we should ask people with laptops to move away from the crowd – but that can happen naturally if there is a separate location with power supplies.



  5. I actually much appreciate having my presentations blogged – it’s one way to get useful feedback. In general I have never been one to protest people clicking away on laptops as I speak. I did recently find it a bit disconcerting, however, to find out that people were using an IRC chat channel to make comments while presentations were going on. A bit of a “whispering behind your back” feeling. Of course, had I been monitoring/archiving the channel, it might be different – so in summary, I think published commentary is much better than discussion in a less-accessible, non-archived back channel (which might include private IMs, SMS and emails, as well as IRC).

    (Above experience is from Access 2006, IRC channel was )

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