14 Nov 2008

Why Liveblogging is Not Useless or Evil

In case you missed it, there’s quite a brou-ha-ha on Sphinn concerning John Coronella’s condemnation of liveblogging. The post has been Sphunn and Desphunn. The comments are where the real meat of the conversation is.

And far be it for me not to add my two cents to the conversation.

Liveblogging helps people like me, who can’t attend conferences because 1) other work and family obligations, 2) company has already sent a gazillion people to Pubcon (or other conference) and didn’t want to lose any more of its workforce for the week.

In my case, there would never have been another ticket for me to go to the conference. Pubcon didn’t lose anything from me not being there. Sure, Lisa will come back and share what she learned with the rest of the class here at WBP, but who’s going to remember everything they learned at ALL of the different sessions throughout the week? Yeah, liveblogging will never get EVERYTHING from every presentation, but it’s a way to retain more of the information that would otherwise be forgotten due to information overload. And communicate it with others.

If the conferences didn’t want this information to be shared in this manner, they wouldn’t allow it. Why do they allow it? I mean, people who aren’t paying to attend the conference are benefiting from this liveblogging information, right? But this is Internet marketing. Not only is that the industry, but it’s the tactic. After all, if you can learn this much from the liveblogged sessions, just think of how much more you could learn from actually being there and being able to talk with the presenters! It’s publicity.

We all know that we’re not going to get everything from reading about a session, but it piques our interest about what we’ve missed. And maybe next time, people who aren’t like me (different reasons for not attending the conferences) will buy a ticket so they can experience it for themselves.

As for the criticism that liveblogging isn’t edited and refined and whatnot… Livebloggers are human. They aren’t robots. They’re typing away furiously for hours on end, expending energy both listening and translating to a written medium for their audience, session after session. It’s a bit unreasonable to expect them to go back and spend half again as long going back and trying to tweak everything they’ve taken a full day to write about. They’d never get to day two.

Critics should cut livebloggers some slack. Filter what you read. If you know that someone is writing crap, then don’t read the crap. Read the good stuff. Or not. If you’re a presenter who’s worried about being misrepresented, treat the liveblogging of your sessions as you would the rest of your reputation management. Make a comment to set the record straight.

Livebloggers rock.