#ldsconf – Something different this time.

So, this would normally be the post where we tell you about our open threads, live coverage and other reporting on General Conference. BCC’s Conference reporting and coverage has been a bloggernacle staple for years. But this time, we’re doing things a little differently, and we hope you’ll understand.

The biggest change is that we won’t have live coverage or general open threads. There are a few reasons why.

First, live twitter coverage and administration of open threads takes a ton of work. With respect to livetweeting, you have to type like a madman to get a point tweeted, only to find you’ve made some typographical errors or omitted a larger point. Even worse, the deck is stacked, since mainstream accounts operated by the Church have had the talk transcripts for some time, and have already generated memes with frilly fonts and photos of landscapes designed to generate Deep Thinking. So, you invest an enormous amount of effort but you get precious little result — and it comes at the cost of paying attention to Conference.

Second, the process of live coverage comes at a personal cost to the bloggers here. You’re so busy typing (and thinking about the next tweet) that you can’t appreciate the words or let the Spirit work upon you as perhaps you might like. Imagine livetweeting Jesus’ sermons — you get the reporting right, but haven’t you missed something? Then with respect to the open threads, we’ve tried a variety of approaches (closing threads until the session is over, heavy moderation, free-for-alls, etc.) and nothing really seems to work. The comments tend to be a mix of banal (“oooh, poor tie choice!”) and the bitter (“I can’t believe they built a mall!”). And again, the comments come at a cost: while you’re typing and interacting with BCC, you’re not paying attention to Conference.

Third, we’re not sure what live coverage really adds. There’s a journalistic element, particularly with the livetweeting, but as I mentioned above the Church-owned accounts have a permanent advantage in that respect, such that independents really shouldn’t even bother keeping up. As BCC is independent, we can provide some commentary, historical background and context as we go, but our abilities and resources are limited, and we’re not sure how much our readership really values those elements — especially when we can provide that backdrop more effectively and in a more complete way as part of a post-conference analysis. The live, open threads provide a forum for discussion, but to what end? I recognize the importance of BCC as a community — in fact, I probably recognize that importance more than anyone else. [1] So, this isn’t something that we’re taking lightly (though maybe we ought to take things more lightly).

Ultimately, the collective thought around Conference is this: if you enjoy watching General Conference, you should turn off the distractions and watch Conference. And if you don’t enjoy watching General Conference, don’t waste your time on the Internet about it.

Wonka notes

It’s kind of an experiment for us. We definitely have some mixed feelings: GC is a BCC tradition. Conference weekends are our heaviest weekends for site traffic. We typically gain hundreds of followers on social media during a session Conference. This approach comes at a cost. But the coverage itself is not without cost, both for us bloggers and for you as readers. This time around, we’d like to see how Conference can be if we turn off Internet distractions.

That’s not to say that we won’t cover Conference. We’re planning in-depth analysis of talks after they’re delivered, and we’ll still have plenty of discussion between and after sessions. We’ll answer questions and provide context. General Conference is an important time for Latter-day Saints, and so BCC will cover Conference. But we’re also going to try to listen to Conference this time, and we encourage you to do the same.

[1] it’s only blogging.


  1. Bravo.

  2. I agree that it’s harder to pay attention to the Spirit when trying to live tweet General Conference. It is really fun, though. That’s why I’ve decided to only live tweet the General Women’s session, since as a man I’m not really required to pay attention to that one anyway… :)

  3. This is the right thing to do. I applaud it even more since I know it comes at a cost.

  4. Like everything else I think it depends on how you approach it. You can quickly lose sight of the forest through the trees. Is it possible to live cover something (tweet/blog) appropriately and be uplifted and feel the spirit? Yes. Is it just as easy to snark your way out of the Spirit? Yes.

  5. Kristine, I tend to agree, but we want to do things right – if we’re covering the event, let’s do it in a professional way. The balance has eluded us, so this time we’d like to try something new.

  6. I’m going to be out of town on Easter Sunday and was planning on keeping up with Conference via live-tweeting (of which, much to the chagrin of my personal Twitter account, BCC is king).

    I’m disappointed, but I understand how hard it can be to try to keep up with everything. Too bad, but good luck to everyone.

  7. We’ll provide some recommendations for alternative live blogging. And we’ll tweet, etc between sessions.

  8. Understood. I can only imagine the effort required to prepare and post live content, while simultaneously moderating comment traffic. I hope you enjoy conference weekend, BCC folks.

    For the record, I loved the banal comments. :)

  9. re: “Imagine livetweeting Jesus’ sermons — you get the reporting right, but haven’t you missed something? ”

    You think having gotten it 2 centuries later is better?

  10. Honest question from a non-LDS reader…Is it not unusual that GC is on Easter weekend? It seems to be a distraction from the whole resurrection thing. (Which isn’t to accuse Mormons of not being Christians or whatever. I have no horse in that race; I’m happily atheist. But from the outside, it looks… kind of… odd.)

  11. Ethel, it’s not that unusual. Keep in mind that there is no separate Easter liturgy in Mormonism, so this weekend you’d expect to hear references to Easter, etc. Yes, it looks odd.

  12. John Mansfield says:

    How did the dynamic work to change the balance toward this choice now rather than a year ago or three?

  13. Rosalynde says:

    Right choice, guys. Good on you.

  14. “And again, the comments come at a cost: while you’re typing and interacting with BCC, you’re not paying attention to Conference.”

    For me it usually means I’m not napping.

  15. Happy to hear it. Enjoy Conference.

  16. Anon for this says:

    I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but I understand. Thanks for doing it all these years. It’s the only thing that actually helped me get through conference. But it’s probably time I just stopped watching, for the sake of my health. The posts afterward may be a better way for me to get caught up on what happened.

  17. John, that’s a good question, and there are a lot of factors. I don’t have a single answer. As I mentioned, this is sort of an experiment, so come Fall we may do things differently again.

  18. I’m bummed, from the perspective that I plan on watching zero hours of Conference and usually rely on sites like BCC to “follow” conference from a distance.

    I totally get where you’re coming from, but I do think there is an audience out there like me who is smack dab in between the “I’m totally geeked to watch conference!!” and the “No way in hell am I subjecting myself to 10 hours of monotone old men sprinkled with a few sing-songy talks by women in pastel blouses!” that will miss the live coverage.

    That’s a long way of saying some people (like me) enjoy following Conference but not necessarily watching it.

    Your live-pith will be missed.

  19. Good for you! I’ve wondered how you could really follow conference while tweeting, etc. though I too enjoy the banal, but I am shallow and silly, and James Patterson, the women wear pastel suits, not blouses. You would know that if you watched. Think what else you may have missed. I will look forward to the commentary afterwards.

  20. Im never online in between sessions. So this will be interesting…

    Also I take issue with those who have commented you can’t pay attention and have a spiritually uplifting experience tweeting. Do what is best for you. This is what’s best for Steve et al.

  21. Angela C says:

    I would also like to remind our readers that this is the weekend it’s time to turn on the pool heater again. You’re welcome.

  22. You guys should give talks (err, write blog posts) about the General Conference talks for the rest of the year. That way, you could still talk about GenConf talks without feeling bogged down by the immediacy of livetweeting.

  23. Honestly, the BCC liveblog got me involved in General Conference when I was starting to step back a few years ago.

    I understand though, and will be interested to see how twitter goes without you guys.

  24. Brooke, your comment has been weighing on my mind. I feel like we are letting you down. This may be a one-time thing.

  25. As someone who also experiences conference primarly through GCC, I think this is a good call. Especially since Sunday is Easter.

  26. elizabethany14 says:

    I’m bitterly disappointed to be missing out on Conference Breakfast updates, but I grudgingly admit that I usually don’t pay attention to conference for reading the open threads.
    But! This is my first conference on Zoloft, and I’m hopeful that it makes me as interested as I once was.

  27. We’ll still provide you with a breakfast update, if that would help.

  28. Hey guys, I say we troll Old Man Evans by liveblogging the whole thing ourselves ON THIS THREAD.

  29. Crap, I never thought about that.

  30. LilyTiger says:

    I am in the same boat as Brooke. For me, BCC has felt like the safest way for me to be involved with General Conference while undergoing a faith transition. Although I am disappointed, I understand the decision and wish everyone a happy Easter/General Conference weekend.

  31. NO!! Thanks for breaking my conference tradition and by extension, my heart.

  32. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    I’m with JOT,

    Otherwise, how else are we going to let our feelings be known on such important issues as what we think of neckties worn, which MoTab choir dresses look like they came out of Mrs. Roper’s closet, who has the most clever word of the session, and what conference breakfast ideas are being shared???? Waiting for comments on this thread to be closed. :)

  33. MDearest says:

    I’ll follow this lead, because I know the benefits of limiting my distractions. But I’ll miss the real-time camaraderie.

  34. Angela C says:

    “which MoTab choir dresses look like they came out of Mrs. Roper’s closet” Trick question – all of them! I’d like to see some choir outfits for the men that look like they came out of Mr. Furley’s closet.

  35. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Maybe not quite Mr. Furley’s closet, but as I watch this clip that was linked on in the comments of “15 Conference Moments You Never Saw Coming”, I was surprised to see the men wearing bright red formal tuxedo jackets in 1980….


  36. What a bummer. Where will people go now to know the Candy Dish word of the session?

    Or what people are eating for breakfast or lunch while watching from their couch?

  37. What does this have to do with Easter?

  38. Everything.

  39. Angela C says:

    Easter who?

  40. Thanks, Steve. I’m glad we’re doing this. I think it’s a great idea for people to really do some introspection and decide if they are being fed by conference. If so, feast (without distraction). If not, for heaven’s sake, detach. It’s not worth letting one weekend harm your relationship with the church if that’s what it’s doing, and certainly being hyperconnected with other people who are similarly disaffected only amplifies the angst. Go enjoy nature or something. Better for everyone.

  41. @Steve, you said you’d provide some recommendations to some alternative live blogging. Care to recommend those now??

    I’m off to get the conference donuts.

  42. Joe, really I think the best bet is twitter. Deseret News has a livetweet aggregator, here: http://www.deseretnews.com/lds-general-conference/social

    We’ll see you in a couple of hours.

  43. Please bring back the live blogging.

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