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Liveblogging from conferences

There have been quite a few peeps whose blogs I read who’ve been attending various conferences over the past few months. Quite a few of them seem to ‘liveblog’ the events they go to, which seems like a good idea in concept – you get the ideas and discussions from the event, as they happen, without having to go, very useful if you’re not funded to attend events, or time / location prevent you from being there.

But for me, the reality of reading these posts, just seems like looking at the PowerPoint slides of a seminar you’ve not been to – there’s probably some good points in there, but without attending the associated presentation, it can be hard to make sense of.

Very often there’s just random statements or key phrases bullet pointed, like:

“user interaction”

“funding”

“databases”

Probably good topics, but lists like these are impossible to extrapolate a thread of discussion from. Posts like these that bounce through a presentation and try and condense it into snappy points are only of use to those who actually attended…did you ever have to copy lecture notes for a class you missed, and had to make the choice of who to ask? You always went for the person who made the in-depth, full content notes of what was presented, not the ones who jotted down the main points. Main points are good as the basis to start from, but don’t give you enough information to fully understand what was going on, you still have to go back and double check things, find out more etc.

Trying to turn a 45 min / 1 hour chat into a coherent blog post just doesn’t seem to be possible while actually listening to the presentation. Most of us are not trained journalists or transcribers – we can’t write things that make sense while also listening to what’s going on. Why could blogging about what you’ve learned not just wait until it can be written into a readable format? Sure, you might be using your blog to keep notes of these points to do just that later on, but in that case, why not just keep them as a draft version, why bother to publish gobbledygook? Seriously, if you publish a ‘notes’ version, and then a ‘proper’ version, the ‘notes’ version has already irritated me enough that I’ll not waste time coming back and looking for the full version.

Or if you’re using it just for your own reference? Use a Word doc, don’t publish it to your blog!

Is there now a pressure on conference attendees to be the first to blog each event? Is it more important to get the information out there fast, regardless of how readable it is?

Comments

Jennifer Vass said…
Personally, I loathe liveblogging. Take notes if you're going to take notes, and write up a cohesive report later if that's what you want to do. I've been skimming over a lot of posts in the last week or so...
Pete said…
Jennie,

I feel pretty much the same way. It seems to be a use of a technology for its own sake, rather than any meaningful contribution. A same day blog, sure, but the fragments you often get from undigested notes...not good.

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