Some people have been saying some very kind things about my liveblogging of Like Minds last week:
There’s two answers to his question: passion and practice.
The second is the easier one to address: I’ve been liveblogging events since 2005-ish, and half a decade’s practice, mistakes, successes and experimentation makes a difference. There’s a post to be written at some point about how I liveblog and what kit I use, but that will probably have to wait until after my next big liveblogging appointment: Le Web in Paris, where I’m one of their official bloggers.
Passion is the harder one. My wife refers to my liveblogging as “taking notes for the class” – betraying her university lecturer view of the world a little – and I think she’s spot on. Back in my reporting days, it always used to annoy me that I had to compress all the great material covered at conferences I attended in 300 to 700 words. You could never more than skim the surface of the event. I was always a prolific note-taker at conferences, and from there it was only a short step to taking those notes in public. In my notebook, or in my MacBook these days, the notes are only useful to me. On a blog, they’re useful to the whole community, whether or not they were at the event. And that feels like a worthwhile use of my time.
It helps, I think, that I’m the sort of person who thinks things through most effectively when writing them down. So not only is liveblogging a conference useful to the community, it’s useful to me.
But, truthfully, it’s an addictive high for me. I just love doing it. It’s probably an endorphin-rush thing, the narcotic power of the deadline magnified to the umpteenth degree. A day’s liveblogging leaves me tired, a bit dazed and (always) thirsty – but dammit, I enjoy it.