About Liveblogging

A lot of my posts on this blog are liveblogs. Here’s a sketchy FAQ about my version of liveblogging.

So what’s the deal with liveblogging?

When I’m at an event, I like to take notes for my own reference. I find that it helps me focus on what’s going on. It’s also (sometimes!) very helpful to be able to search afterwards if I want to follow something up.

By doing it here on my blog, rather than on my own machine, it has several benefits. First, it makes it easy for me to find in the future – Google’s search is really very good. Second, other people sometimes find it helpful. You can think of it as ‘event amplification’ – widening the reach of an event beyond the audience there in the room at that particular moment in time.

Why is your prose so sketchy and imperfect?

Because I was taking notes live in the meeting, and my usual failure pattern is going for comprehensiveness over comprehensibility. They are intended to be in note form, not longhand. In speech, people often correct themselves, talk in partial sentences, and say things in ungrammatical ways. You don’t notice that while someone’s talking, but if it’s transcribed, it’s really obvious. I’m not transcribing the discussions, but I am trying to capture a lot of what’s going on, and that can make for very fragmentary reading.

Misyakes

I do my liveblogging in real time, and try to publish as close to the end of the session as I can. This makes it more useful for other people, and also saves me from spending endless time later polishing the notes up. I’ve found that an imperfect record posted in a timely manner is better than a perfect one posted much later or perhaps not at all.

This does mean there are often errrrors and typos and misunderstandings. If you notice one, please let me know – I’ll be delighted to correct it.

I didn’t say that! Or, I may have said that but I don’t want you to say that I said it!

Sorry.

I can’t promise to go as far as Tom Lehrer’s “if anyone objects to any statement I make, I am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also to deny under oath that I ever made it”. But I do want my notes to be a record that people are happy with.

If you’re unhappy about something I’ve posted, please let me know, and I’ll be delighted to correct, amend, clarify, anonymise or excise the record as appropriate.

You missed out something I said!

Sorry.

It’s hard to keep up sometimes. I might have been busy typing from the previous speaker and wasn’t able to catch your valuable contribution. Also, I am a fallible human, so it’s just possible that I was momentarily distracted from giving my full attention to the most important thing that was going on at that moment in time.

If there’s something you want to add do feel free to add it as a comment below so everyone can see it.

You’re doing it wrong

There are many different ways of liveblogging. This is what I’ve found works for me. Other things work better for other people.

I’m very open to suggestions for how I can improve what I do, but I can’t promise that I’ll be able to do them.

Can you do this at my event? Or help me to do it?

Sure. If you get me to an event, I’d usually want to liveblog it anyway, so will be happy to do so. That, of course, depends on me being willing and able to come to your event. If you want to hire someone specifically to act as an event amplifier, you might be better off getting hold of Kirsty Pitkin, who does this (very well) for a living. I’m a one-trick pony – it’s just liveblogging while I’m there, plus perhaps the odd Tweet. Kirsty does a much more comprehensive job of amplifying your event.

I’ve run workshops in the past on liveblogging and would be happy to do so again, depending of course on what it is you’re after, what my other commitments are, and what if anything you’re proposing to pay.

Can you not do this at my event?

Sure. If you’d rather I didn’t liveblog at an event, just let me know.

I try to be reasonably discreet and not post things that obviously should be kept confidential. (If I inadvertently have done, as I said above, please let me know and I’ll take it down). I like to liveblog at public events, but I’m not committed to posting just because I’m there.

What software do you use?

Just a plain old free wordpress.com account. (Thank you, WordPress.com!) Plus a few paid-for extras like the personal domain, but those aren’t necessary if you’re happy with a wordpress.com address.

I compose direct in to the wordpress.com add-a-post box. As long as I have a live connection to the Internet, it saves drafts fairly frequently and does only slightly worse than a local application would for saving your writings in the event of a crash.

Other liveblogging software is available, although increasingly less is available for free these days.

Where do you find the photos?

Gravel
(cc) James Bowe on Flickr

On Flickr, usually, using the Advanced Search for Creative Commons-licensed pictures. The search term I use is typically something related to the subject matter – though ‘related’ can be somewhat whimsical, and by the time I’ve scanned through a few pages of pictures the connection can be really pretty tenuous.

I try to make sure I always include the link back, but if I’ve messed up, do please let me know and I’ll fix it as soon as I can. And if I’ve posted a photo you don’t want me to, please let me know and I’ll take it down.

How can I thank you?

This isn’t really an FAQ. But you’re welcome: I’m glad if anyone finds it helpful.

Positive comments, however brief, are always encouraging, whether in person or on the blog.

Alas, most of the positive comments I receive on the blog are very general and turn out to be spam – e.g. “Great blog and excellent style and design”, “thanks for such wonderful information…keep posting more…”, “U have a cool site over here”. Those comments are only briefly encouraging.

Genuine positive comments are much better. Genuine positive feedback to my bosses is even better than that.

[Edit: Annoyingly, this page is attracting very large quantities of just the sort of spam I was talking about, and it escapes the filters, so I’ve reluctantly closed comments on this page. Do please leave feedback elsewhere.]

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