Perhaps the best way to learn how to live blog (and to learn what you can do and what kinds of things you can write) is to look at some real life examples. A good place to start is the The Guardian's Minute by Minutes page, which showcases all the live blogs they have running at any one time. Have a read of some of their liveblogs and think about the types of post they feature, the different media and news inputs a journalist uses as they live blog and how they can prepare, as writers, for this kind of job.
You'll find lots of advice online on how to blog. A lot of the stuff was written to get traffic and rehashes some basic standard advice, plus a little bit of basic search engine optimisation… This post from Problogger is pretty representative of a lot of what's out there. It's OK, I suppose, but doesn't take you that far. So it's worth reading round a bit – beyond the first page of results on Google for searches on blogging. There are lots of useful blogging tips online. Here's a few to start with:
- Web Designer Depot on how to blog effectively
- Camilla Chafer – freelance journalist/blogger on how to make your blog successful
- Ex-BBC head of blogging Robin Hamman on how to get started blogging
- Todd Sieling's Slow Blogging manifesto
- Roy Peter Clark's 25 non-random things about writing short
- Boing Boing having some fun with the ten worst types of blog posts – I talked about some of these in the presentation today
- Finally – some more general stuff – Journalism.co.uk on how to write for the web
More Scott Rosenberg – this time a whole lecture connected to 'Say Anything', his book on blogging. The full talk is online, courtesy of Fora.tv and is worth a watch if you're interested in how blogging developed.
If you want a quick sample, his 'Ten Myths about Blogs' is good.
I might play this in today's session on blogging – Scott Rosenberg on the pointlessness of trying to identify the first blogger. Nice ideas though a rather naff video…
When you're live blogging, you have to write quickly and publish as soon as you can. The aim is to work with the immediacy offered by the net, to give people a sense of an event unfolding in real time. So some mistakes are inevitable -typos etc. You can cover yourself with a disclaimer which you can post early, or paste into your updates as a matter of course…
But you should do everything you can to try to avoid errors of fact. Rumours spread very quickly via social media. You need to step back at times and think a bit before passing it on. There are some things you can do to try to verify tweets and updates. Paul Bradshaw has an excellent guide to verifying online information in general. Zombie Journalism has a more specific guide for journalists using social media.
Today we're going to try live blogging for a while in the afternoon. There are various things we could cover – real live news events or past events that have been filmed… We can talk about what you want to do. Here are a few options:
- Ongoing events in Egypt, obviously – one place to start would be Al Jazeera English's live stream
- An Apple product launch – this one is for the last lot of iPods.
- Or how about the launch of Google Instant
- If you want something similar but more up to date, you could try the Hewlett Packard launch this week (for their webOS and tablet)
- Something less techy and more serious – David Cameron's recent speech criticising multiculturalism
I think the most interesting one to do would be Egypt. In some ways it would be the easiest too, because it is live and because you can use all the stuff going on on Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr etc… But it's up to you.
We're going to try using CoverItLive today. It's a free service – at least to small scale users – and very easy to use. You sign up for an account, create a live event and then you can past the embed code for that event into a blog post.
That creates a little post that you can expand and update in real time. You do this via the event console which you access via your CoverItLive account.
Reza will demo how to set it up – but it's really pretty easy – though there are sometimes glitches when it comes to embedding the events onto a WordPress blog…
I think the best way to find out what you can do with CoverItLive is to play around with it. It has some good documentation on its site, which you should look at too. For example:
- The CoverItLive support centre
- Their suggested 'Ten Ways to use CoverItLive'
- Their various tips for writers