On Liveblogging [en]

[fr] Quelques réflexions de la part d'une personne (bibi!) qui prend des notes "live" aux conférences...

Via Bruno Giussani, a post by Ethan Zuckerman on liveblogging conferences. Again, a comment turned into a post — so here are some of my thoughts on liveblogging conferences, something I’ve been doing more and more regularly.

No big surprise, my reasons for blogging conferences are quite similar to Ethan and Bruno’s. “Taking notes” helps me concentrate on what is being said, I can search through them later easily, and this kind of “conference coverage” brings new people to my blog. I’m not yet at the stage where I’m being invited to conferences because of my liveblogging-fu — but who knows, in future? (hint, hint)

Here are a few of my comments (go read Ethan’s post first, it’ll make more sense):

  • no lapdesk for me — due to RSI, the best place for my keyboard is right on my lap, even if it gets a bit hot.

  • I take photos too, so I tend to sit in front, or further back right next to the central alley if there is one (the “distracting to others” side of liveblogging never struck me, but maybe I’m too engrossed in my typing).

  • I’m not good at summarizing (like Ethan and Bruno do), so my style of live-blogging is very note-like, with a few “steph-notes” to express my thoughts along the way. Actually, I started liveblogging because I took notes for myself on the computer (RSI has made handwriting “not an option”), and thought “oh well, they’re pretty crap, but I might as well publish them” — and to my surprise, they were very much appreciated.

  • I usually publish right at the end of the talk, which means I snap a few photos of the speaker at the beginning of the talk, upload one at some point during the session, and near the end copy my notes from WriteRoom (my editor of choice) into my blogging tool, add tags… I take note of Ethan’s “preparation” tip — I could really do with writing the post titles in advance. There are two reasons I publish fast (in addition to the little thrill I’ll admit to having at the idea my post might be “first up”): first, I get to enjoy the breaks, and second, it helps me continue to convince myself that blogging sessions does not create “extra work” for me — as I do it all during the session.

  • One point Ethan does not raise is tiredness — is he immune, or just more resistant than I? Maybe it’s lack of practice, or just the way I’m wired, but I find that I can’t go without breaks. Even without taking RSI into account, my brain just goes liquid and I become incapable of taking in stuff after 2-3 sessions. So, I skip a session once in a while, and even sometimes skip it completely, not even attending.

Ethan mentions collaborating: some people blog, some people take photos, others keep an eye on blogosphere coverage of the conference, etc. I remember how participants to the BlogTalk 2004 conferences took collaborative notes using SubEthaEdit. I have to say, I’ve never done it since. That gives me an idea for the next conference I’m going to…

8 thoughts on “On Liveblogging [en]

  1. Great tips – thanks for sharing. I’m not immune to the tiredness that sets in, though I am thankfully free of RSI. My tricks involve lots of walks outside during breaks and making sure I get eight hours sleep each night before a conference day… 🙂

  2. Speaking as one who is, frankly, just too far away to get to all the cool conferences, I have to say that I, for one, really appreciate those of you who take and publish copious notes from them.

    While it can’t replace actually being there, at least it can spread the information and ideas a little further.

    So, thanks… from me 🙂

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