From blog-style commentary to conversational social media

Panel members

Chair: Stephanie Booth
Consultant, Climb to the Stars

Panellist: Bernard Goldbach
Lecturer, Tipperary Institute

Panellist: Donncha O Caoimh
Developer, Automattic Inc. (

Panellist: Jan Schmidt
Senior Researcher, Hans Bredow Institute


Stephanie Booth is a blogging and social media consultant. Over the last few years, she has consulted and given talks on social tools to a wide range of clients, including schools, businesses large and small (Intel, Romandie Formation), media companies (Femina, Vibrations Magazine), and various non-profits (, FMEL). She combines direct experience online with solid theoretical knowledge of the Internet to explain its complexities, both technical and cultural. Stephanie studied philosophy, Indian religions and French language and literature at the University of Lausanne, where she lives. She has been blogging in French and English since she came back from a year in India in 2000. Her blog Climb to the Stars was one of the first French language blogs, and is today amongst the most popular blogs in Switzerland.

Bernard Goldbach grew up in Lancaster County, PA. He graduated with a BS in international affairs from the USAF Academy, and instructed in both the Northrup T-38 Talon and Lockheed C-141 Starlifter before spending several years as an air staff planner. He now lives in Cashel, County Tipperary and he delivers third-level computing and multimedia courses to students enrolled at the Tipperary Institute. Bernie writes the "Inside View" column for the Irish Examiner every Friday and blogs at He likes running long distances when fit and reading history more than watching television. His single largest expense involves feeding his telecommunications providers.

Donncha O Caoimh is a software developer with Automattic Inc., and he is one of the team behind the weblog site He is also lead programmer for the multi-user version of WordPress, "WordPress mu". Donncha is originally from Cork City, and he is currently living with his family in the scenic town of Blarney, Co. Cork. He blogs regularly at both and He is also a passionate photographer, and has a popular photo blog at

Jan Schmidt is a senior researcher in digital interactive media and political communications at the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research in Hamburg, Germany. Since 2004, he has conducted various research projects in the area of social software, with a particular focus on the emerging practices of online-based identity and relationship management. As a "hard blogging scientist", he not only gives frequent lectures and presentations on recent online developments, but he also blogs at (While this blog is mainly in German, there is some English content available).


Blogging has mainly been used for commentary on a particular topic, for publishing news items of interest, and for personal thoughts and ideas. However, many new social media services - text and video microblogging (Twitter, Seesmic), social network whiteboards or walls, and so on - are focusing on conversations via social networks, with replies often having equal status to the original messages. The nature of these new services is also somewhat different from blogging, focussing on spontaneous (shorter) messages and more random chat topics. We will discuss what distinguishes blogging from other social media discussion systems, and see if blogging habits are changing in the face of these new social media services (e.g., see Prologue).