Live Blogging – WSJ’s take on the subject

An article on liveblogging from the Wall Street Journal.

Obvious LLC’s nine-month-old is dedicated to the question, "What are you doing?" People send in their answers (up to 140 characters) by cellphone, by instant messenger or on the Web, which are posted on their personal page for viewing by a limited group of friends or anyone on the site. The site has received more than one million real-time posts, including one sent in via cellphone by Peter Kruse while he was sitting in the back of the church at his former pastor’s funeral in September. "It did distract me for about 30 seconds," says Mr. Kruse, 25, an aide to adults with disabilities in Elgin, Ill.

Many agree that it’s hard to fully participate in an event if you’re trying to compose pithy, thoughtful notes at the same time. Some academics say the live posts are the latest twist in the decades-old conflict between living in the moment and memorializing it from behind a camera lens, only worse. "People who are live-blogging are psychologically more distant from the event," says Clay Shirky, a professor of social software at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


After doing some Live Blogging myself at Lotusphere my experience is less one of distance from the event and more of an alternate form of note taking. I do suspect that live blogging from a conference vastly different from doing the same at a child’s birth 🙂

I like the comparison to ‘memorialzing from behind the camera lens’ as that is something that I had struggled with in the past. I used to consider taking pictures a very "meta event" and as a result have about 2 or 3 pictures from all of my 5 trips to the Turks and Caicos islands. After getting a small Cannon Elph with long battery life a year or so ago I realize that my previous experience had more to do with the cost of operation of the picture taking experience overall, not the general activity. Now I’m much more likely to take a picture when I just have to pull the camera out of the bag to catch the scene. Having a flickr account doesn’t hurt either b/c it is a low cost way to organize and share all of the photos.

I’ve recently started thinking about how much more I would capture if the cost of operation was even lower – if I blinked my eyes and decent quality picture was saved. I think that I would not only take more pictures, but would also feel less distant from the event. I imagine there is a very close analogy for live blogging. The cost of operation, even with t9, is high enough for me at the moment to use my mobile phone as a frequent input device, and my laptop is unweildy in most situations. But if the cost of operation  were lowered with respect to entry of my thoughts, I suspect I would (and could) live blog more often, with a greater feeling of emersion in the experience.

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