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.


  1. Annie Cushing November 14, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    >>Critics should cut livebloggers some slack. Filter what you read. If you know that someone is writing crap, then donโ€™t read the crap. Read the good stuff. Or not. If youโ€™re a presenter whoโ€™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.<<

    I thought the same thing about how to handle being misrepresented as a speaker. Set up an alert system for your name (e.g., Google Alerts) and follow what people are saying about you. If you feel that a blogger has gotten something wrong, simply shoot off an email with a request for a correction and/or post a comment on the blog to set the record straight.

    And if it gets Sphunn, post a comment there too. No need to pitch a fit and call for a cease and desist on all live blogging.

    Just remember that how you respond could affect your reputation management efforts as much (if not more) than being misquoted. So choose your words carefully and be judicious. And try to remember we’re all on the same team here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. QualityGal November 14, 2008 at 11:16 AM

    Very well stated, Annie! Thanks for keeping the conversation going.

  3. Megan Slick November 14, 2008 at 11:40 AM

    I too cannot attend every conference for reasons you mentioned above. I really appreciate that I am still able to catch up on what the industry is buzzing about.

    Last year at SMX West, I had the honor of hanging with Lisa and Tamar. I could see immediately that their job is extremely hard! Speakers mumble and panels talk over each other, it is amazing how well the livebloggers cover sessions. People need to relax a little!

    Thank you to all of the livebloggers – I appreciate your hard work!

  4. Susan Esparza November 14, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    @Annie & @ Quality Girl — I love the suggestion to shoot off an email (or comment on the post!) if you think you’ve been misrepresented by a liveblogger. Our goal is to be as accurate as possible. If we got something wrong and you tell us about it, we’re going to be more than happy to fix it.

    As for the people who hate being liveblogged, maybe I should do a guide: How to make a liveblogger’s life miserable in five easy steps. Alternatively, they could ask us not to liveblog their presentation. I, for one, would respect that.

  5. Megan Slick November 14, 2008 at 12:05 PM

    I can’t believe I forgot Susan! Susan you are awesome! Thank you for all of your hard work liveblogging!

  6. Annie Cushing November 14, 2008 at 12:24 PM

    Thanks, QualityGal. This topic hit a nerve for me. I feel for the people who suffered direct hits as a result of one senseless grenade thrown into the Pubcon mix.

    I also noticed early on that if friends of the livebloggers spoke up, they were dismissed as members of an inbred, fraternal “inner circle.” And if the livebloggers speak up, they were depicted as overly sensitive, egomaniacal, and/or self-congratulatory.

    As someone who couldn’t be accused of any of these alliances and who had – ironically enough – publicly endorsed this particular blog on Twitter *b/c* its Pubcon coverage before this controversy ignited, I would have felt like a bit of a coward to not speak up.

  7. David Temple November 15, 2008 at 3:24 AM

    Good grief, innacurate reporting? Really, I don’t think so! The only thing that is innacurate is that blog post about live blogging being innacurate. Someone needs to get a life or maybe it’s just linkbait and we’ve been taken in again. Kudos to all you live bloggers. I can’t make hardly any of these conferences in the US anymore so I really appreciate the live blogging. Now if someone will start drinking for me that would be nice ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Online Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » Friday Recap November 16, 2008 at 12:13 AM

    […] was merely inaccurate and unedited reporting. Ouch. Luckily, a look at the comments on Sphinn and responses — like this one from everyone’s favorite mystery-shrouded WBP blogger, Quality Gal […]

  9. PubCon 2008 Wrap Up: The topics, community, and moving forward November 16, 2008 at 10:55 PM

    […] to her in two sessions, watching her cover them and doing such a great job through all the live blogging adversity. Well done […]

  10. John Coronella November 18, 2008 at 6:51 AM

    Annie, you misspelled inaccurate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Annie Cushing November 18, 2008 at 6:53 AM

    John, you’re petty. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Lisa Barone November 18, 2008 at 12:15 PM

    Am I going to have to separate you two? And John, don’t THINK we won’t put you in time out.

  13. Annie Cushing November 18, 2008 at 12:31 PM

    LOL, Lisa! (Do it, do it.)

    Actually, I regretted my snarky response as soon as I hit the Submit button. Hafta learn to step away from the computer when feeling feisty. But then I’d never get any work done. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry, John.

  14. Annie Cushing November 18, 2008 at 3:09 PM

    Um, John, I just noticed that you were actually quite inaccurate in your spelling allegation. Signatures go below posts in this country. *ahem*

    But I still shouldn’t have called you petty. Careless would have been more accurate.

    Okay, now I’m just gloating. hehe

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