We attend a lot of events here at , and we want to share what we learn there with you as quickly as possible. With lighter laptops and more people blogging, it's fairly common to hear the clattering of keyboards during conferences and live events. As a result, the end-of-day recap post has been replaced by intermittent updates throughout the event. Enter live blogging, a fancy term for taking notes during an event and publishing them in real time.
Live blogging allows those that aren't at the event to participate remotely, and it also helps facilitate a conversation among attendees by giving them access to content they might have missed as well as a place where they can discuss it.
If you've never actually live blogged before, then it might sound cumbersome or even distracting. In fact, live blogging provides a ton of value to your blogging community and allows you to affirm your commitment to fostering conversations in your industry. It's also a fantastic opportunity to experiment with some new techniques.
To help expand your live blogging prowess, we pulled together some top tips to get you started:
Prepare Before You Go
Live blogging is easy, but you need to make sure you're prepared ahead of time.
-Check Internet access: check to see whether the venue has Internet access. If it does, determine whether this is provided by the conference organizers or if you have to pay for it. Many convention centers and hotels still charge event organizers a hefty fee to for wireless Internet access, so organizers will often opt not to purchase it for attendees. If that's the case, pick up a wireless aircard or modem from your mobile carrier. It's an important tool in your blogging arsenal and a worthwhile investment if you spend a lot of time traveling, as it virtually guarantees wireless Internet access anywhere you go.
-Consult the event schedule: determine which sessions you're going to attend, keeping your audience in mind. Decide which speakers will appeal to the people that read your blog and what session topics will provide a unique perspective they will appreciate.
-Post early: Inform your audience that you will be live blogging so they know to expect regular updates during the day, which will improve your site's traffic, attract new readers and provide fresh content.
Choose Your PlatformThere are a few different ways you can live blog. You can draft a post in your blog editing software of choice and publish it as you normally do. You can also use software like CoverItLive. The benefit of CoverItLive is that it's pretty intuitive and the robust feature set allows you to make your blog more interactive will polls, images and media in real time.
Another option is to stream live video segments from the event using your computer's webcam. Both Seesmic and uStream.tv are good options here. Ian Lurie from Conversation Marketing has some great tips on how to stream video with ease.
During the EventNow that you've equipped yourself with the right tools and set the expectations of your readers, it's time to get to work. But what the heck do you actually do? This is pretty subjective, but if you're taking notes, only share the most interesting and relevant information. In most cases, this means avoiding the play-by-play (i.e."Speaker X walks up to the podium, clears throat and opens with quip about your mom.") in favor of more salient points ("Speaker X says trust is the most important factor in determining marketing success. Jack from Company Y challenges this.). Your readers really only want to hear the highlights. If there are case studies, try and document them as best you can. If statistics are shared, those are always of interest.
Live Blogging Alternative - TwitterSuppose you don't have a blog or you don't want to lug your computer from presentation to presentation. You can still participate in live event conversations using Twitter. Before you go, conduct a quick keyword search on Summize for the name of the conference (i.e. SummerMash Seattle). Find out who's talking about it and who plans to attend. You can then follow their updates during the event via your mobile phone by sending a text message to 40404 in the US (21212 from Canada; +44 7624801423 everywhere else) with the message,"follow"".
You can also share your own updates from the event by setting up a Twitter account ahead of time. Next, find out what the hashtag is for the event. A hashtag is an agreed upon abbreviation that conference attendees use to denote which Twitter updates are related to a specific event.
ConclusionLive blogging isn't hard, but it does take some thoughtful consideration to do it right and to do it well. If you have excellent examples of live blogging or additional tips from your own experience, please share them below.