This year is already shaping up quite nicely as a year of “live blogging” for those that are attending conferences (or hanging out in the “circuit”). This is a relatively new concept for many of us.
Essentially, “live blogging” is the act and process of blogging an event or conference in real time, or as close to “real time” as humanly possible. Some of the first “live bloggers” had to “publish” rapidfire posts in order to keep up with the tide, but this is no longer necessary as tools, applications, and services can be used to simulate true real-time publishing.
Here are some key things to consider and to get you ready to live-blog your conferences this year:
- Make sure the’ve got a robust internet and wireless setup. The worst enemy to live blogging is no internet. That’s partly their fault but more of it’s on yours if you didn’t check prior. If not, pick up a wireless card.
- Know the schedule inside and out. Know which areas of the conference you’re going to cover and the one’s you simply can’t.
- Know your niche. Again, know the target audience that you’re live blogging for and don’t change it up. There are many live bloggers out there covering the conference, how you’re going to stand out is the “niche” factor.
- Queue up your posts for pre-conference, post conference, etc. It’s good to have “regular” posts in addition to your live blogging instance.
- Prep your readers and let them know that you’re doing this. Get feedback from them for what they’d like you to cover, etc. Be engaging with your community!
Platform or Method
There are a number of ways you could live blog a conference. Here are just a few ideas and/or suggestions. Be creative!
- CoverItLive.com – This is quickly becoming a “standard” in live blogging technology. Take a look, setup an account, and be read to roll. Polls, images, media, in real time. Wow.
- Seesmic.com – I’ve seen a number of people use this pretty well. What’s nice is that each “moment” or “capture” can be an individual post and/or instance, which you can put in a variety of different places. Easy video conversations too.
- uStream.tv – Live video feed right to your blog. Might be a “bit” noisy, so you’ll have to manage it well. Lighting can be an issue, but you can capture live chat, etc. This is especially good for interviews, etc.
- Mogulus.com – Like uStream but gives you more publishing backend and the possibility of multiple members of a team covering varying aspects of the conference. I haven’t seen anyone do this extremely well, but imagine a digital, live news broadcast with strategic members throughout a wide and large conference, switching back and forth through the back office control panel. That would be super fly.
- Flip Mino HD Camera – This little video camera is epic. It’s super easy and you can upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo. The process is slower but the quality is up’d a lot. You’d have to schedule and be “strategic” with this route.
- Twitter.com – I’ve seen more than a few use Twitter to live blog. This can be good or bad, depending on how “annoying” the quantity of updates get. One idea is to create a separate account just for the event and advertise it as such. Or, if you’re consistently live blogging, perhaps create a more “permanent” live blogging Twitter account, like @Human3rrorLive or something like that.
- Qik.com – If you’ve got a nice phone to capture live video, use it! This saves you from having to carry other hardware.
- Kyte.tv – An alternative to Qik.com that has some other nice features. Check it.
- Your Blog – The “old school” way, but still yummy and affective. Perhaps your audience will appreciate this much better. Up to you. You can’t go wrong.
It’s Go Time!
Some thoughts about what to update about and what not to update about:
- Don’t update every single thing. People don’t care if someone “coughs”.
- Update the most “juicy” parts of a keynote or things that “matter.”
- Images and media add “awesomeness” to your live blog. Do it.
- Have some “down time” to your “experience.” You’re human, so take a break and so are your viewers. Respite is good.
- Don’t neglect your “blog.” Make a few regular blog posts too for those that are subscribed to your RSS feed. Don’t forget all of your readers!
- If you’re using Twitter, find the conference “hashtag” [#conferencename] and use it with abandon.
And Don’t Forget…
Finally, don’t forget to have fun and get “offline.” You’re there to build some relationships too!