Reflections on liveblogging

I was anticipating hearing David Goggins speak all week, or at least for the three days since I’d read about the event in The Independent. A friend loaned me Born to Run this summer, and I’ve been fascinated by barefoot and ultra running ever since.

So I was excited to be sitting in BN Duke auditorium, holding a notepad, watching students filter in.

Leaving BN Duke Auditorium afterward though, all I could think about was how much information I didn’t capture. Liveblogging is vexing.

Goggins gave so many numbers: 100-mile this, 150-mile that, 44 hours this, 18 hours that. I felt like I needed to capture everything that was coming out of Goggins’s mouth. This liveblogging assignment was a real challenge. It felt like taking the SAT for the first time. After you have your first test under your belt, you know what to expect. But this first time was frustrating.

I’d like to try liveblogging again and take use the lessons I learned from this assignment:

  • Bring a wireless device or smartphone. There was no wi-fi in BN Duke auditorium. After writing 20 pgs of steno pad notes, frankly, I didn’t feel like posting them online when I got home. It felt like double work. It would have been better to write once and make the blog posts immediately.
  • Focus less on numbers, more on meat. In retrospect, I could have looked up Goggins’s race results after his speaking engagement. I would have liked to look at Goggins more, while he was speaking, see his facial expressions as he told his stories. Taking notes and listening at the same time is tough.
  • On that note, I could have written shorter posts. Liveblogging does not equal transcribing. Less is more. Less is more.
  • Bring a camera.
  • Identify my audience. I was so excited about hearing Goggins speak, I didn’t think about who would be reading my blog. I could have created more succinct posts, had I thought specifically about my audience and what they would want to know about Goggins.

One other note:

I had to try hard not to edit my posts. No cheating. I wanted my liveblog to be as live as possible and as close as could be the notes I took at the event. This is difficult. It was a real challenge to type in my posts as roughly as I’d written my notes and resist the urge to clean up or embellish the copy.

For future liveblogging, I’d like to try a festival or conference. David Goggins was fascinating and told vivid stories. There was room for Q&A and interaction at the end of the event. Now that I have covered an event that was in one venue with one speaker, I’d like to contrast that experience with one that has multiple venues, perhaps covers more time and includes more than one person as the draw.

Overall, this liveblogging assignment was a learning experience.

I learned how liveblogging differs from blogging in general. You have to make snap decisions on what to post, which means you should have a really good idea of who your audience is before you even start. Over time, I’d hope my news judgment would improve with making these snap decisions.

This assignment was also an exercise in letting go of anxiety. This assignment was about the process and not the content according to our syllabus and discussions. However, I still felt some anxiety about the roughness of my posts.


About susanrene

sister, friend, lover, learner
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