This is what I posted on February 23, 2006, about eleven months ago. As you can see, both from my post, and from the comments, the idea was to have some kind of BloggerCon devoted to science blogging, almost like a giant MeetUp where a bunch of science bloggers can get together, finally match the names (and online handles) with faces, chat and gossip, show off their work, and have lots of beer.
But, what’s the point (apart from the great fun that would be)? How does one sell this idea to sponsors? It seemed that this idea was doomed for a quick death.
But then, Anton Zuiker came into the picture. At one of the local blogger meetups, we talked about this idea and he, being wise and experienced about organization of conferences, had a much, much better idea: to mix science bloggers with others who are interested in science communication – scientists and students, science teachers, librarians, writers and journalists, journal editors and local elected officials, software developers and science museum staff. This way, we could have a very fertile and exciting exchange of ideas – bloggers showing what can be done with this technology and hearing what others want to see more; non-bloggers learning about the blogging potential and showing how they use the Internet in their endeavors.
Eleven months later, the idea is becoming a realization. Anton did the lion’s share of the work (especially the nasty financial aspects of it), but Brian (who designed the beautiful logo displayed on top of this post), Paul and I pitched in as much as we could and knew how.
The first (and we hope annual) Science Blogging Conference is this weekend. We are really starting tomorrow with a Skills Session, where 30 of the conference participants will start their own WordPress blogs.
As people start arriving from distant places (like Canada, UK, New York City, Seattle and California), we’ll get together for a dinner on Friday (sign up – we need to know the exact numbers).
The big show is on Saturday – check the exciting Program we have put together – it combines a formal (talks), semi-formal (mediated break-out sessions) and informal (a true Unconference session to be formed on the spot) parts. Of course, some of the best ideas come out of chats in the hallways between sessions and during meals, including the Saturday night dinners (sign up for dinner by editing the Wiki if you have not yet done so).
If you have ever written about this conference in the past, or intend to write in the future (including liveblogging), or take pictures, podcasts or videos, let me know so I can link to all of that in one place for easy access. Whenever you write (or post pictures on Flickr etc.), please use always the same tag: sciencebloggingconference.
As you can see, we expected 150 participants, and, even after purging the list from people who said they could not come after all, we are still up to 170 participants right now (everyone over that number is on a waitlist). If you dig through the list of registrants, you will see that only about a quarter are bloggers and that we have achieved the diversity we wanted to see.
For those of you who are new to science blogging, you can use this page as your starting point for exploring. For those of you who are coming to the conference, there will be a great Swag Bag full of goodies waiting for you at the registration table on Saturday morning (if you already have something that’s in your bag, please share it or exchange with others, as we have more participants – 170+ – than bags – 150!)[Update – just in: we will have 225 bags, though not all will have every single item].
Just in time for the conference, we managed to pull off, at a breakneck speed, the first ever Science Blogging Anthology. Due to so many people linking to the announcement post (see the bottom of that post for reciprocal links which often contain interesting ideas or useful criticisms) has already been seen about 3000 times and the book page at Lulu.com has been seen 2217 times, has, after just 24 hours risen to the Lulu Sales Rank of 10,934 and got three 6-star reviews (yes, we also managed to sell a few copies so far). Keep spreading the word!
First few copies will be here at the conference, for show-and-tell and to try to get people to buy a copy. Next batch of prints, I understand, will go to people who were the first to order the book online. The next batch (some time next week?) will go to the authors of the 50 essays showcased in the anthology – for that, I need you to e-mail me your snail-mail address to give to Lulu.com so they know where to send your complimentary copy!
None of this would be possible without the generous support of our hosts and sponsors, including Ibiblio, Endeavors, UNC School of Medical Journalism, Lulu.com, Sigma Xi, The American Scientist, Blogads, Seed Scienceblogs.com, Seed Magazine, Ecco, Harper Collins, NC Museum of Life and Science, JMP Software, RTI International, Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Blogburst and PLoS-One.
This is so exciting! I hope you will enjoy the conference as much as I know I will!
And after the conference, I will sleep for a day or two, then get back to my dissertation and, hopefully, to a more serious style of blogging. It is not surpsising that recent visitors do not see why is this blog supposed to be a science blog as I have not written a substantive science post in weeks! I am itching to get back to that myself. Many posts are just waiting to be written and I hope you will still be here waiting for me to write them
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