October 29th, 2006

Can I Please Blog Your Private Meeting?


The Sanctimonious-sphere is all up in arms because Nielsen BuzzMetrics asked attendees of their CGM summit this week not to blog. I attended the summit, and I respected their request not to blog — and I think the request was perfectly reasonable. Why? Because it wasn’t an open “conference” — it was a private client user group for heaven sake! Every day thousands of companies hold private meetings with groups of their clients and nobody expects them to broadcast a live feed.

I can personally recall at least a dozen instances where companies shared instructive stories that they never would have shared if it were going to be broadcast to the world. There was lots of learning among a company’s clients — what’s the problem? Nielsen participates in tons of public forums. So they decided to give their clients a private space to share. Are companies no longer allowed to have private functions?

What kills me about the criticism being leveled again BuzzMetrics is that it’s dripping with sanctimony (and hypocrisy). This was a private client user group, and suddenly it’s about banning blogging at conferences — which of course makes for the type of inflammatory headline that the blogosphere loves to feed on.

To all of the critics — can I please have an invitation to come blog your next client meeting?

Ok, ok. Seriously. I’ll be the one to confess. The real reason BuzzMetrics wanted the meeting to be off the record is that they held a satanic ritual during the coffee break.

I’m sure there will soon be a mob with pitchforks and torches at my door, too.

  • Lots of buzz for Nielsen on this one :) Is that called irony?

  • I thought it kind of odd that there was so much squawking--esp. after I learned that it was indeed a private meeting for BuzzMetrics clients. That smacks of a certain level of internet clubbiness, but then again, that's the perogative of the organization to do that...and, following suit, so is it the perogative of an organization to ask people not to blog about it.

    It seems like the squawking is trying to say that there's people holding exclusive meetings about this stuff that don't want the people to know their secrets--oh, as if we didn't know that already! Most blogging conferences are exclusive simply by the cost--and they may allow blogging, but they're not necessarily putting all their info out either. So, what difference really does it make if the say "don't blog this"?

    So many of the bloggerati have no idea how separated they are from the people. We know what's going on--and what we can't be part of for one reason or another. This really is a giant "so what?"

  • Hey -- I'm glad someone else is pointing this out!

    I submitted a "Reader Response" in regard to the Boing Boing post about this earlier this evening. Not sure if it will get posted at BB, but here's a clip from what I said:

    "Although it seems counterintuitive that a conference on user- oops, "consumer" -generated media would ban blogging, it's really not off-base in this instance.

    This particular conference is limited to Nielsen Buzzmetrics' clients, and the company is an offshoot of Nielsen Media Research; both Nielsen's are in the business of studying and selling research about media and media consumers.

    If the information shared at the conference is consequently widely distributed, no one will pay for the research information any longer. Further, Nielsen's clients won't be too happy because they will have paid for knowledge their competitors would suddenly be getting for free. (snip)"

    With all the enormous and highly publicized new media and technology conferences that abound these days, it seems folks seem to have come to expect access to follow-up content online. Anyway, glad I'm not the only person who'd noticed...

  • Scott

    It wasn't super clear from Steve Rubel's post that this was a private event. I left a response on my blog not clearly realizing that. The lines between private events and community knowledge will undoubtly be blurred as knowledge inputted to individuals
    will eventually be outputted to action, whether in blogs or their day jobs.

    Reducing the flow of information can work to some degree, but capping it off completely is difficult.

    Thanks for your input on this.

  • Hung Le Duong, when I see the blogosphere in the midst of a pile-on, and I happen to disagree, yes I suppose I do push back pretty hard. In any case, thanks for your salient observations on the topic at hand.

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