Sunday, August 23, 2009

The “Collaborative” Blog — Crowdsourcing At Its Best!

Back in July I decided to experiment with an idea… to write a blog recapping an event I did not attend.  A further twist to this project was to create the article purely from tweets posted on the event’s Live Twitter stream.  Sounds like an interesting challenge?  Well, it certainly was ……

The event of choice was the Opening General Session for Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress.(MPI WEC) To provide some context crowdsourcingthe meeting took place on Sunday July 12, at the Salt Lake City Convention Center and contained a live audience of approximately 2,400 ppl.  The Twitter Hashtag, #WEC09 generated the following activity for that session, which was the reference material for my article:

  • # of Tweeters — 74 (including me)
  • # of Tweets — 358

Within the Twitter audience, roughly 25% of the participants were virtual, like myself.  As a point of information, a Virtual Access Pass (VAP) was available from MPI for $19 MPI member/$59 non member entitling the purchaser to view a live or archived webcast of the event.  I, like many people refused to pay for the webcast, which is what inspired this experiment.

So, here is a recap of the steps I followed to organize my thoughts and write the recap article:

  • Step #1Sort tweets by presenter… there were three speakers so tweets were copied and pasted from chat archive to Microsoft Word Document in three columns.(one column per speaker)
  • Step #2 — Condense Tweets … Locate redundant tweets and purge them.
  • Step #3 — Tweet analysis to identify common sub-themes … examining the tweets more closely I discovered three recurring “lessons” amongst the presenters.  Within each presenter’s column I grouped the tweets by lesson 1, 2 or 3.
  • Step #4 — Designed Article layout … created an outline illustrating a high level overview of the blog document.
  • Step #5 — Write the Article
  • Step #6 — Finishing Touches — Added some pictures of the speakers, and an embedded version (in the article) of the Opening Session Video. (obtained from

cocreationThe finished article was entitled “MPI’s WEC — The Opening Act” and contained 756 words.  The response I received for the article was very positive, amongst both live and virtual participants. To this day, 6 weeks later, folks are still clicking on that article at my blog site.

From this experience I learned the collaborative nature of a live Twitter stream.  The success of this article is less about my writing skill and more about the power of Co-creation, as the ideas I presented were the collective thoughts of 75 individuals.  Clearly, this is a lesson in crowdsourcing!

Question:  Have you had an experience similar to mine, or perhaps slightly different.  Do you find collaborative creation of content to be a valuable asset?  Lets hear your thoughts!

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Slawin August 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm

This is a very intriguing idea…especially given my most recent experience going to ASAE09, virtually.

While I was alone in my office, I felt connected to the event through live streams, Tweets, some phone calls with colleagues and partners both virtually attending and at the event and now, the opportunity to expand that into a virtually attended blog posting.

Live blogging has become quite popular, perhaps doing so virtually with crowdsourced content can be as well.

LOVE IT . . . I’m going to try this at the next webinar I attend and see if I can crowdsource a blog post from the tweets.

Great idea.


Michael M McCurry CMP August 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

@Brian Slawin,

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your comments. It truly has been an enriching experience using this approach with blog posts. I actually posted two articles for ASAE09 as well using the same techniques.

I can’t wait to see the blog post you generate from your webinar… please let me know when it is available



Jay Smethurst August 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I’ve found co-creation to be an extremely valuable tool in f2f events as well. Ask small groups of attendees to brainstorm the best ideas they’ve heard at a conference, and then work together as a team to develop a synthesis of the key insights from the event. If you want to make it fun, then make it a competition, and ask each team to develop a product that incorporates all of the best ideas. (If the conference is about new approaches to meetings, then each team should design a radical new model for meetings, for example.) Then you can offer a prize to the team with the best idea. This creates 1) GREAT interactions among attendees, 2) great lists of “big ideas” that can be shared, and 3) a collection of models for how attendees would USE this great content (new ideas filtered through the collective experience/expertise of the attendee population).

I haven’t seen anyone try this virtually — using Twitter as a synthesis tool is pretty interesting!


Michael M McCurry CMP August 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm

@Jay Smethurst,

Wow Jay, these are some great ideas… thanks for sharing them!

I love this stuff and all these concepts look like forward thinking tools to build community and collaboration.

Thanks for sharing!



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: