Liveblogging: How do you like it?
After reading Seth Godin’s blog this morning, I have a question. And hey, we’ve mentioned Seth Godin every day this week, why should today been any different, right? Right!
So, Seth brings up the topic of liveblogging today and argues that, for him, the medium doesn’t work because the writer/blogger is writing to remind themselves of what they just witnessed, not to inform the audience. He says:
"…Most people don’t take notes to be read. They take notes to write them. The act of writing things down triggers different areas of our brain, it focuses attention, it makes it easier to remember things. You can read your blog notes later and say, “yeah, I remember that slide…” But for an outsider who’s not there, the amount of information that’s imparted is small indeed. Compare these liveblog posts to posts written an hour later, ones that digest and reflect and chunk the information. These are deliberately designed to inform the reader, not to remind the writer."
I can somewhat see his line of thinking, but I think it depends on the blogger doing the liveblogging. All liveblogging is not created equal. Some bloggers jot down quick notes, others focus on key points, and a crazy few scramble to get down every word. If you’re liveblogging consists simply of "notes" about what just happened, then you’re probably not providing a hell of a lot of information to the reader. But not all liveblogging is like that.
I know that when we liveblog conferences we try really hard to give readers an accurate portrayal of what’s happening, as its happening. I do my best to recount as much of the session as I can, adding commentary where appropriate, and even keeping you abreast of the music playing in the background in case you’d like to set the mood at home. And because I so easily turn into a star struck child, there’s also typically a healthy dose of who just walked in, how cute the guy on the podium is, and how excited I am to be blogging with Kim Krause-Berg again. Our liveblogging is a half conference room/half high school cafeteria.
One thing I found interesting in Seth’s post was the idea that liveblogging is done to remind the writer about what they just saw or heard, not to inform the reader. I somewhat disagree. I can’t speak for other bloggers, but I know when I look back at the 17 sessions I covered at Ad:Tech San Francisco or the 17 sessions at SES New York, sometimes I don’t even remember being there, even after I read it. I remember certain sessions, but I can’t count how many times I’ll read a session recap and give Susan my confused face because I have no memory of that session. At all. Sometimes I fear I’ve been cloned. [Cloned? Why, that's a ridiculous idea... *nervous laugh* --Susan]
I suppose as someone who does more than her share of liveblogging, and who is scheduled to do some more in less than two weeks, I want to know if you think Seth is right.
Do you have a difficult time making sense our liveblogging? Would you prefer a less-banter, more Search Engine Roundtable approach to the coverage? Should I hang up my laptop and let Susan take over? Would you prefer we take notes and then write up the sessions in the late evening? What do you want out of liveblogging?