Soz for the tardiness but I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while.
Armed with Macbooks we aimed to live blog the event using Cover It Live; we were the only live bloggers on the day and while we attracted a few followers – one of them was my mum – it was an excellent introduction to covering an event.
This, in short, is what we learned.
1) Power up
Make sure you have access to a power source because live blogging sucks the juice from your computer pretty sharpish. We ran out of power at lunch time and, being sat in an auditorium, didn’t have easy access to power. We recharged during the lunch break but this gave us another hour in the afternoon and that was it. No biggy for us, we had a small following, but next time we’d want to complete the experience and that’ll take battery power.
2) Safety in numbers
Live blogging in pairs is much easier – one to listen up while the other is writing and so on. It’s hard to write and listen at the same time, especially when you’re trying to source links, references and copy down statistics to illustrate the live blog. Doing it alone would be pretty exhausting and possibly not offer as comprehensive a blog as if there were two of you. And I tip my hat to my student colleague Franzi who not only had to listen hard and live blog, she also had to translate as English is not her first language. No mean feat!
Find out who the speakers are before you get there and have bios, images, Twitter accounts etc ready to go on a Word document so you can copy and paste info as you go. Much easier than writing from scratch while also trying to listen to speakers.
4) You’ll need to eat
Take food and drink. Sometimes lunch hours and breaks are very short and you’ll want to spend the time reviewing the next speakers and preparing or simply taking 10 minutes out – not queuing for coffee and sandwiches.
5) Follow the hashtag
If there’s an event hashtag, use it to monitor incoming tweets and pull interesting ones in as necessary – don’t pull them all in else it’s likely to dilute the blog.
6) Let people know
Promote the fact you’ll be live blogging before the event and try and get a following in the run up to the day itself. We promoted the night before, giving no one a chance to find us. This wasn’t a problem – it was our first go, after all – and this was more about learning to live blog than producing a mass following. Also let the event/conference organisers know what you’re doing as they can help promote your live blog. And if someone from the organization is live blogging, find out what angle they’re taking so you can try and cover something different.
I also did some research before using Cover It Live and found these resources useful: