Flickr Photo by Pitel
I'm honored to be on the team of live blogging (that is, blogging about an event during an event) for the NetSquared Conference. The team is being coordinated by Britt Bravo, who must be the most organized person on the planet! As Britt notes in her live blogging guidelines:
The main goal of your posts is to provide information about the Projects that voters can refer to when it comes time to cast their ballot since they won't be able to attend all of the sessions.
So, our live blogging assignment is also an important reporting task because conference participants may need to refer to these notes to cast their votes. We aren't just taking notes for ourself.
Talk about pressure ... I hope that parachute works ... I need to reflect back on my live blogging/reporting experience ... It always helps to reflect back on your experience so you don't replicate too many of your mistakes - so I'm giving myself pointers on how to live blog. Perhaps it may be helpful to others who be live blogging at the conference (either part of the team or not!)
A big problem with live blogging is that sometimes the results aren't good. We often see disclaimers to live blog posts like this one by Nancy White of Full Circle Online Interaction Blog. “Normal live blogging disclaimer - I don't catch it all, I don't get it all right, but if I don't post it as is, it won't get posted!"
The reason why live blogging posts can suffer in quality is that you are writing on the fly - no editing, no reflection. Many people live blog to take notes. According to Seth Godin's I'm liveblogging this: "The act of writing things down triggers different areas of our brain, it focuses attention, it makes it easier to remember things."
So, as Stephen Downes points out it is hard to serve two purposes: reporting for people to read and taking notes for yourself.
It's hard, but doable with respectable results. You have to be both a transcriber and a reporter, simultaneously capturing what is being said in the form of direct quotes as it is unfolding, summarizing key points and spinning into an somewhat organized narrative at the same time.
One of the things that will improve your live blogging is to get organized before the session begins. Before the conference, I create a draft post for each session I will live blog. I cut and paste the session description as well as any useful background links. I also add in the conference technorati tag at the bottom. (see example below) The NetSquared conference tag is n2y2.
I also use a blog editor which lets me write my post offline (in the event that the wireless Internet flakes out and it always does no matter where the conference is) and I avoid that very frustrating situation of completely loosing your post. I hate when the that happens.
During the session, I might capture photos of any visuals that help summarize a key point or key quote. Once the session is over, I immediately review my notes and make sure there are at least complete sentences and no major typos. I do a spell check and with a deep breath, hit publish.