Live blogging – I just don't see the point

SimonGeneral6 Comments

Live blogging

I’d been thinking about live blogging for a while now and wondering what the point really was.

It’s become common practice at conferences in the US for bloggers to blog live from presentations and discussions. I’ve seen it a bit over here in the UK, but I don’t think it’s as common.

The whole topic of live blogging flared up in the blogosphere when Steve Crescenzo wrote about his experience as a presenter being live blogged at a recent conferece.

As a reader of blogs I’ve always questioned the value of the posts that come from live blogging.

The stream of slightly disjointed notes and running commentary on who’s saying what very rarely provides any insight or indeed a useful record of the conference proceedings.

Many live blog posts remind me of meeting notes I used to take on my PDA where they made sense to me at the time, but a few days later I couldn’t fathom out what I had noted at all.

I struggle to make enough notes for myself at many conferences I attend, let alone formulate them into a meaningful blog post at the time.

There is an argument that live bloggers are looking for news to break, and that by being there on the conference floor they can get the scoop they crave. But let’s be realistic, how much news is really made in the conference room itself? Not much I’d say.

The bloggers who create a useful record of conference proceedings are those that make decent notes, reflect, think and then write (and edit) a post a few hours later.

The additional insight they add, as well as the quality of their summary of proceedings makes their posts much more useful than quickly-dashed off live notes that don’t hang together as a coherent post.

Allan Jenkins is thinking along the same lines as me, as well as making a couple of good points about manners at conferences.

If you were speaking at a conference what do you think about live bloggers? Do they add value or would you prefer they powered down and participated in the main event?

I know a few event managers read this blog. What’s your take on live blogging?

6 Comments on “Live blogging – I just don't see the point”

  1. Agreed. I did it at the International Public Relations Association’s conference last year. I was invited specifically to do it. However, I don’t think it was entirely successful. It’s impossible to properly listen and report at the same time, let alone do any analysis. Also there is an element of people have paid their money to attend, so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to give too much of the content away live.

  2. This reminds me a bit of people going on holiday with a video camera stuck to their eye – are they experiencing or just recording what is in front of the lens?

    I like to listen and take notes of things I find essential by hand. I also find it distracting when people are typing, whether to report immediately or for their own use. It is annoying as a presenter (and as a lecturer when students use computers).

    But I’m not sure if I’m being a dinosaur and that one day no-one will write anymore. In which case, computer keyboards had better stop clicking.

  3. Actually for me it’s not the computer that’s the problem. I can type faster, more coherent notes than I can write (I often wish I could do shorthand). The issue is that writing copy is different to note taking.

  4. Yes, shorthand is useful – but note-taking (ie choosing what to write down) is a skill in itself. Shorthand just makes me want to record things verbatim.
    Anyway, the point I was going to make here is that the concept of liveblogging reminds of what I used to call “live reporting”: filing your report by phone without having pre-written it first.
    My first boss and mentor was superb at this and always said that this led to the best copy. What he ‘wrote’ was uncomplicated and fresh, and stuck to the essential facts.
    It was certainly a skill, and I’m not sure I could do it now.
    The difference from liveblogging was that we used to file away from the action, either diving out of the press conference/court half way through, or immediately the moment it ended.
    It’s also about reporting, not commenting.
    If liveblogging has a place, it must be for reporting and not commenting. Who can add serious, well-considered comment simultaneously? And who wants to read ill-considered comment?
    At a conference, why not wait until a break, or leave the room to post without distraction? That way you get speed and accuracy (the scoop), without writing distracted nonsense or being rude to the presenters.

  5. From an event management perspective I have no real issue with people live blogging although I do agree that post conference overviews tend to be far more considered and of wider value than snapshots written on the fly.

    The primary purpose of attending a conference is to listen to the supposed wisdom of others and I feel dividing your attention between a speaker and a blog post has to reduce what you’re able to take in. That said I think we’ve got to say each to their own and accept that some people enjoy doing it.

    It only really becomes a problem if it begins to impact on other delegates experience and I’d say if that’s ever the case you’d have every right to whisper blog off!

  6. Thanks for the interesting comments everyone – I think I’ll stick to post-conference analysis.

    After all most conferences are about learning from two-way interactions between presenter and audiences – my brain couldn’t cope with blogging at the same time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *