I met a really amazing group of people at AdvocacyDev, some of whom I expect to see again at Web of Change. Within the amazing group were a number of bloggers, and I’m looking forward to checking out their blogs.
So here’s an idea: event-specific blogrolls. I’d love to find (or create) a tool that would allow event organizers to create blogrolls of event participants, and allow participants to temporarily rotate their blogrolls to reflect the blogroll of whatever even they’re at. Right now I use bloglines to generate my blogroll; but I’d love it if it were SUPER easy to switch that blogroll to temporary alternatives, to rotate my blogroll periodically, and to create a blogroll that is separate from my public list of blog subscriptions. That last item is a little to-do for Bloglines, since I often refer people to my list of Bloglines public subscriptions as a set of starter RSS feeds, but feel irritated that my list excludes a bunch of feeds that would be useful to RSS newbies but that I don’t feel like advertising on my blogroll (e.g. the CBC and the Globe and Mail).
But back to the event-specific blogroll idea. I think what would work great is a tool that integrates with event registration, so that it asks people for their blog URLs (if available) as part of the event registration process, and then (at the option of the user) adds that URL to a conference blogroll. The blogroll could be available on the conference website, along with a little snippet of code (or a link to the code snippet) that conference participants could put in their sidebar for the duration of the conference.
The ugly workaround approach would be to do something like creating a Bloglines account for the conference, and manually or automatically adding each registrant’s blog URL to the event’s Bloglines blogroll. Then participants could insert the code that Bloglines generates to replace (or supplement) their blog with the conference blogroll, and delete the code when the conference ends.
The way cooler approach would be something that integrates with event calendaring or personal calendaring. I’d love a service that keeps track of events I’m planning to attend and lets me share my calendar or a specific event with a trusted list of contacts or the general public (in fact, I need to start using something that does that anyhow). And I want that same service to offer blogroll management to all the events and conferences I participate in. Then I want the service to accept the URL or OPML file that corresponds to my default blogroll (i.e. my Bloglines blogroll) and to automatically swap out or supplement my default blogroll, replacing it (or appending to it) with the blogroll for whatever event I’m at at the moment. And last but not least the same system could add MY blog to the list of blogs to be aggregated into the event blog during the event’s duration, if those posts have been tagged with a designated conference tag.
To offer a use scenario, here’s how that might work with an event like AdvocacyDev. I register for the conference on the Aspiration website, at which time I am prompted to enter my blog URL (and perhaps asked about whether I wanted it added to the conference blogroll). My blog URL would then be added to a blogroll on the conference wiki and/or Asipiration blog (at least for the week). And anything I post to my blog with the tag “advocacydev” gets aggregated into the conference blog (so you have an easy, automatic, collaborative conference blog).
Meanwhile on my personal blog I have a sidebar that includes a little snippet of code generated by the calendaring app. This app knows the URL for my default Bloglines blogroll, and most of the time what appears in my blog’s sidebar is that Bloglines blogroll, passed through to my blog via the event app. But the morning that AdvocacyDev gets rolling, the event app tells my blog that I’m now at AdvocacyDev (which the event app knows b/c it’s gotten updated by the AdvocacyDev event registration system) and so from July 11-13, my blog’s sidebar shows a blogroll made up of my fellow AdvocacyDev participants, either instead of or in addition to my usual blogroll (depending on my preference settings).
The appeal of this idea is that it extends and inverts the logic of an aggregator-based event blog. Aggregation is all about taking these little individual nodes (individual participant/bloggers) and collecting them up in a hub (the conference site). But every individual is a hub for his/her own personal network, with her/his own usual readers and subscribers. By pushing the blogroll for an event out into the individual blogrolls for each conference participant, we could turn the community of conference participants into a broader community of like-minded friends and colleagues.
Anyone care to take this as a LazyWeb request?