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Conclusion of the Liveblogging Experiment

I started this blog last week chiefly to publicize and record this year's Foresight Institute conference, but also because I wanted to attempt a media experiment. I wanted to see whether liveblogging an event like this was useful, and wanted to see how it might work and what it might look like. I'd never blogged before, or even commented on a blog.

I'm sure that others could, and will, do this sort of thing better. Over the course of three days, I've written something like 12,000 words in more than 40 postings to the blog, and put up more than 60 pictures and about 9 videos. It was a lot of work -- I missed a few meals and a lot of sleep -- but it would have been easier if I was just blogging, and not also presenting a talk. I come away from this intense experiment with a profound respect for all those who blog regularly.

Here are the tools I used:
- Laptop = Sony Vaio
- Camera = Sony DSC-P93
- Blog software = TypePad (Pro subscription)
- Photo editing = Adobe PhotoShop 7
- Video editing = Windows Movie Maker and Windows Media Encoder

For anyone who wants to attempt this sort of "multimedia conferenceblogging" in the future, I've got a few suggestions.

- Bring extra batteries for your camera, and if possible, an extra flash memory card.

- Find out ahead of time the wireless Internet arrangements in the meeting space; you might have to pay to get online. (It cost me $10 each day.)

- No need to be as rude as a paparazzo, but don't be shy about walking around taking pictures.

- Bring a power strip, if you can. This weekend's conference hall didn't have many power outlets, so some laptop-users couldn't plug in. The power strip that I brought for the second and third days came in very handy.

- Bring headphones, too, if you intend to edit any video while people around you are trying to listen to the conference proceedings.

- Finally, if possible, don't work solo. A commenter on one of my early postings suggested "tag-teaming the presentations, and using several individuals for commentary." I wouldn't follow that advice for short events, but teamwork is probably the way to go for multi-day events like this conference.

In the end, I think this experiment shows that a blog can serve as a source of live news and as a permanent historical record of events. And I have a hunch that there's a tremendous business opportunity here. There are all kinds of events -- formal and informal, planned and unplanned -- that could and should be covered by bloggers. A company that provides "newsblogging services" might someday give the wire services a run for their money.

A few acknowledgements: Thank you to the Foresight Institute, for the invitation to speak. Thank you to the conference attendees who let me videotape them. Thank you to Nine Systems for streaming the videos. And thank you to my wife, for letting me borrow her laptop and for insisting that I eat and sleep.

October 25, 2004 in Commentary | Permalink


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