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Hothouse BlogFest ’05 (Sydney Australia)

June 24, 2005
Hothouse hosted the best catered, free seminar I’ve been to in a long time. The event was "BlogFest ’05" and was located at the lovely Westin hotel in central Sydney (Australia) yesterday morning.
There was a farily good turn out with around 100+ attendees, but then again the hot breakfast on the very cold Sydney morning probably had a lot to do with that.
Simon Van Wyk – CEO – Hothouse
Mark Jones – IT Editor of the Australian Financial Review
Mike Walsh – News Limited
Brad Howarth – Freelance Jounalist – Lagrange Consulting
Andrew Sorensen – Deacons law firm
Here are the summaries of some of the points spoken about at the event:
Mark Jones – IT Editor – AFR
* Pointers to Cluetrain
* journalism vs blogging – Sees them as 2 seperate entities (sorry buddy but I disagree here. I really see that the line between journalist & citizen journalism is very grey if not non-existant).
* Blogging is a personal publishing system
* blogs take time (tell me about it)
* post short stories often
* great quote from Rupert Murdoch "Consumers want control over the media, instead of being controlled by it."
* converstions matter
* Mentioned podcasts & got a plug.
* Commented on how RSS was like Pointcast…. (hmmm didn’t PointCast bite the big one?)

Mike Walsh – News Limited
* Talk titled Web 2.0 beta
* 21% use web as primary source of news
* Commented on the The Annotated times site
* mentioend digital social networks with examples of Cyworld, Linkedin
* Concept of  Web 2.0 being – .mylife .news .connect .filter .remix
* Discussed issue of how Firefox with plugin can strip ads and content off websites and "there is nothing web designers can do about it"

Brad Howarth – Freelance journo
1st, great to see you’re finally blogging Brad welcome to the conversation! 
* Discussed infamous Kryptonite bike lock example
* Don’t fake it like Mazda tried to do in the US
* Blogging is word of mouth on steroids

Simon Van Wyk – CEO – Hothouse
Impromptu comedy spot: Simon started his presentation then suddenly looked blankly at the audience and said…
"Sorry, can I stop this for a sec as I think this is my old presentation. I don’t think i’ve got the right laptop"
(So always ensure you practise safe laptop presentations kiddies!)
* The personal face of blogging. Gave example of Bob Lutz, head of GM
* Tracking success for a blog
 – links not traffic
 – ratings with rss aggs
 – number of comments
 – quality of sites linking
 – # of trackbacks
 – influence your blog has – (getting quoted in press and main stream blogs)
* Mentioned the site
* "Blogging is not for everyone, it’s just another form of communication" (er, say what!?!?)
Andrew Sorensen – Deacons lawyers
Overall Andrew was very good as he explained the issues very well and with good relevance. Highly recommend using Andrew if you are looking for a legal company that has their finger on the pulse about blogging legal policies 
*blogging the legal issues (Cameron got a mention! "example of an employee leaving Microsoft Australia for a posting on their blog")
* Issues to be aware of:
 – defamation
 – breach of confidentiality
 – missuse of copyright
 – discrimination
 – illegal content
* Non legal – You company’s reputation
* What is your company’s policy? Is there one?
* Senior management blogging needs stricter control than other employees. (Due to fiduciary requirements)
* "Dont blog when angry" (LOL at this one)
* Mentioend the progression of the technology blogs – podcasts – "blogvision" (ok that’s new?!?)

A good selection of speakers, but I thought there was some crucial things missing such as:

  1. No-one talked about permanent links and why they are so important to blogging. That they are extremely search friendly for one.
  2. Blogging is a very easy thing to get into. No mention at all of the different types of free sites avaiable to get a blog going.
  3. How Blogs help your website’s searchablility on search engines for their markets.
  4. Link blogs are a great way to get starting without having to do the content yoruself.
  5. Blogs are part of a bigger service to your customers so you can converse more freely with them.
Hothouse will host the AV of the presentations on their site in the near future
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