Back from the Conference

Well, I am back from the Science Blogging Conference, exhilarated and exhausted! After months of preparation, and last few days of frantic last-minute work, the Big Day has come and I could finally relax and enjoy myself. And enjoy it I did! I hope the others did as well.

First order of duty: go say Hello and Thank You to Anton without whose ideas, persistence, hard work and organizational skills, there would have been no conference!

From what we heard in person, everyone was excited about the meeting and voiced hope we will organize it again next year. To make your opinions heard, if you were there today, please take a moment to fill out this brief feedback questionnaire to tell us what you thought was good or bad today, and what we can do better next time (yes, the coffee was late, due to a death in the family of the owners of the cafe that was supposed to provide it, but Brian and Paul saved the day by quickly getting coffee from another place in the neighborhood). I also hope you are happy with your swag bag - the PLoS shirts are awesome!

Both Technorati and Blogsearch Google (as well as my own Sitemeter) are pretty slow and untrustworthy at providing the links to everyone who has already blogged (or liveblogged) about the conference, but I scanned the usual suspects (i.e., blogs of people who were there) and added some of the links to this and this collection of links so you can check out the first impressions (I'll add more as I find them over the next day or two).

There are already some pictures up on Flickr and Technorati as well, just check the tag. There will be more (I will upload my pics right here on the blog tomorrow - I took quite a few before the batteries died).

The first two talks - excellent talks by Hunt Willard and Janet Stemwedel - were also recorded, and I will link to the audio files as soon as they are available online. Also, I'll link to my interviews with Nature and News&Observer once they are online, as well as any other media reports that may come out (there were people here from NYTimes, WaPo, Independent Weekly, Charlotte Observer, PBS NewsHour and a couple of local radio stations).

The discussions were lively and I think very fertile - the group was very diverse and there was fast exchange of a lot of interesting and new ideas by bloggers, scientists, teachers, students, journalists and everyone else. Check the livebloggers for details of each session - I am too exhausted now to write a lot of details of each one I attended (but if you check the Program page of the wiki, each session has a link to its own page where people are now adding their thoughts, links etc).

I think I did well for my Seed Overlords and touted as the next best thing after the invention of apple pie! We also promoted the anthology as heavily as was still in good taste (I've been adding links to the bottom of that post to everyone who mentioned the book on their blogs so far). Check out what John Hawks wrote about it - quite interesting and somehwat similar to what I wrote in the Preface. On the other hand [edit: see this follow up - thank you!], seeing so many people today who are interested in science blogs but do not know where to start and what it is all about (or may not be very technically savvy), I believe that the book will be useful tool to drive people who are not usually online to the science blogs. For such people, I think that this page (which evolved over the last couple of months or so) is a good starting point for exploration of the science blogging universe.

For those of you who just started your own blogs on Thursday, I'll be watching you! And as soon as you have interesting content on your blog, I will be sending hordes of my readers to you! Also, keep an eye on the Blogtogether page and come to our regular blogger meetups, where we can help you with all the bloggy questions you may have.

Perhaps, if this guy with the deadline and no ideas what to write about read science blogs instead of pamphlets lying around the cafeteria, his understanding of science as well as his attitude would improve! The same goes for the guy who is reviewing Seed sciencebloggers here, here, here, here, here and here and was even allowed to post here. The reviewer probably never even scrolled down the front page of any of the scienceblogs, let alone dig through the archives, so whatever was the first post on top was the only source of information about the entire blog. If he was at the conference, he would have learned what science blogging is all about (or for that matter what blogging is all about).

It is impossible to list here all the interesting people I have met today (and I wish I had more time to spend with each - but there were, I dunno exactly - about 170 of them), but I am assuming that my blog readers are most interested in other science bloggers who were there. From the Seed Scienceblogging Universe, it was great spending some time with Janet, Zuska, James, Dave and Greta and Abel. Panda's Thumb was well represented by Burt Humburg, Reed Cartwright and Professor Steve Steve. Larry, Eva, Rob, Bill, Cathy and Corie are even nicer in person then online (if that is possible). I wish I had more time to chat with Rob, Lorraine, Josh, Bharat, Jean-Claude, Jacqueline, Liz and Christina - next year (or next meetup if you are local)!

Everyone else can relax now - no more posts here titled "SBC - NC07"! Give me a couple of days to recuperate and I'll be back to my normal SCIENCE blogging for a change!

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