The 'blogging the festival of ideas' experiment is having all kinds of interesting effects including, it seems, people who were previously unfamiliar with blogging now sticking a toe in the water and coming here -- and presumably also to Gary Sauer-Thompson's Public Opinion and Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy -- to read. While few are leaving comments, the stats counter is through the roof, with all of the extra readers coming directly from links at the Festival website or at Tim's and Gary's and most of them staying on here for quite a long time.
Of the three of us, only Gary has tirelessly kept up his terrific almost-on-the-spot reporting, complete with some great photos (also at Junk For Code); Tim plans to post reports on the festival through the coming week, which strikes me as eminently sensible but which, if I do it, will put me hopelessly behind with work.
I've just been working on a very long and still not finished post on the 'Digital Ink: the future of journalism' session, which took place nearly two days ago now. Part of the problem is of course that one does not want to miss most of the sessions because one is too busy blogging. There is also the question of having a life: seeing one's mates, changing the cat litter, checking up on one's Aged Parent and making sure there are clean socks.
But my biggest problem, and I'm formulating it as I go along because this is the first chance I've had to think about it, has been the one of trying to blog in such a way as to highlight the differences between blogging and hard-copy reportage, for otherwise why do it at all? Ironically, though we all argue (usually correctly) that instantaneousness is of the bloggy essence, I'm finding that at the moment the Adelaide Advertiser is ahead of me in this time race.
Here's the reason: unlike a newspaper article, a blog post is as long as a piece of string. I want to do the sessions some real justice in a permanent record -- far more than would ever be done to them in the mainstream media -- and that means detailed reportage and some half-decently digested reflections on what was said and on the implications of what was said. This has left me with some very long paragraphs in an unfinished piece on the Digital Ink session, and I have yet to catch up with posts on two sessions from yesterday before I get in there this afternoon and hurl myself back into the cattle-car crowds in the hall foyers.
For the usually celestial Adders weather is at the moment highly changeable and intermittently vicious, and yesterday there were some nasty, dangerous crowd moments as people pushed up the stairs at the Elder Hall entrance, desperate to get shelter from the icy bullets pelting down out of the sky. They pushed to get in while the previous audience pushed to get out, and a number of fragile folk suffered: squashed in the rush, poked in the eye by a rogue umbrella, or suffocated by the pungent smell of wet wool. For a minute I almost thought I was back at the Melbourne Writers' Festival.