Last week, I threw a blog conference on the topic of work and life.
I spent one week intensely writing posts on one topic. The posts were of two types. One type of post was designed to gather personal stories. Since these issues were sensitive, the internet is an ideal place to gather these stories. You can be anonymous. (In one case, a frantic commenter had me delete her e-mail address for fear that her workplace would locate it.) Other posts were designed to foster debate.
This was a good idea (she says not so modestly). Smart points in single issue blogs can get buried here and there. The author runs out of steam eventually. In multi-issue blogs, no one issue is explored in depth. If a topic isn’t on the nightly news, it rarely gets too much attention by bloggers.
By confining discussion to one week or four days, you can explore a topic in-depth, but not tire your audience. Never do much on Fridays, since blog readership dwindles then.
It can be a way to condense the best information on a particular topic. Commenters can add links to their posts on this topic or links to the best news articles.
If there is a general program listed the week before, commenters can assemble their ideas in advance.
I think this blog conference model should be replicated with some alterations.
I should have brought in others to help me out. I only had time to write the post and had little time to moderate debate. It might have been interesting to have others with different perspectives write a couple of posts. I should have publicized this in some way. Several blogging buddies notified their readers about this conference (thanks, all), but I should have contacted bloggers outside of my usual circle.
Still, I think it was a huge success. In four and half days, there were about 10,000 hits with many from major media sources and governmental offices. The conversation was sophisticated and nobody called me an asshole. At least in the comment section.