Not so long ago, I co-organized a Science Workshop on a particular topic. At some point after the workshop, I saw - by chance - a link to a webpage that seemed like it was closely related to the workshop topic. In fact, the link was to a blog post by one of the workshop participants who had blogged the workshop. He had described the workshop activities in great detail, and had uploaded photographs of the workshop in progress, including at least one photograph of me (identified by name in the caption). I had no idea he had done any of this.
Fortunately the blogger had enjoyed the workshop and found it worthwhile, so the blog post was positive and was mostly a blow-by-blow account of the workshop activities. In fact, it was kind of boring (unlike the workshop itself).
Nevertheless -- and this might be hypocritical -- it was strange reading a blog post that was at least in part about me. I blog about academic incidents and people all the time, including anecdotes about people I meet at conferences, but the difference is that I don't name names -- or include photographs of actual people.
I had no idea anyone was blogging the workshop, although I know that syn- and post-conference blogging is a common phenomenon now for meetings of all sorts and sizes. Should we all just expect that we might be the topic of a blog post or a tweet or whatever mode our fellow conferees might be using to describe their experiences to the rest of the world? And at any time, should we expect that someone might take a photograph of me or you or our students or postdocs and post it, captioned with names, on the internet?
I was a little weirded out by it at first, but -- perhaps because the blog post was unexceptional and positive -- I found that I didn't really mind. I think it would have been nice if the blogger had asked if he could post a photograph of me, and it would have been even nicer if it were a better photograph. But he certainly didn't need my permission to write about the workshop; this was not the type of workshop or meeting at which such things are specifically prohibited.
Is everyone OK with being blogged about in a professional context like this? With having a photograph taken without your knowledge, labeled with your name, and posted without your knowledge? With having the content of what you thought was an informal conversation described (accurately) in a blog post and attributed to you, without your knowledge? Or does anyone think there should be Rules about this?
6 months ago