Our generation of readers consume information in a variety of different ways. The introduction of new technology in the form of laptops, smart phones and tablets gives us the tools to access, comment on and distribute this information faster than ever. This is where liveblogging comes in, a phenomenon which has seen a rapid increase in the past few years.
Live blogs are a useful method to provide coverage and commentary of an ongoing event. Many major news sources use them to cover an event or breaking news story as it is actually occurring, rather than at the end. They often have a very informal, almost conversational tone which readers tend to favour as opposed to a more formal style of writing.
The Liveblogging Event itself
To illustrate the nature of liveblogging, I participated in a liveblogging event in a virtual session conducted by my lecturer. The session lasted for just over an hour, amassing a total of 83 comments from both my own contribution and other users. The session was useful as it allowed me to see how liveblogging events work and to consider how news agencies use them in order to appeal to readers. It also illustrated the challenges readers can face too when contributing to one. Rather than discussing an actual live event, I and other users voiced our opinion on the topic of liveblogging itself and how we felt during the experience. I particularly enjoyed it, discussing a topic with a group of like-minded individuals can be quite a positive experience. However there were some drawbacks to the discussion. Due to the limits of the technology we were using it was difficult to keep up with the discussion as the page did not automatically update with new comments. This can be discouraging as the discussion moved on quite rapidly and by the time I’d typed up a new comment it seemed irrelevant. Other users experienced this too.
Microblogging and Social Media
During the discussion the topic of microblogging came up, especially on social media sites such as Twitter. Twitter is increasingly being used as a platform for discussion of live events, particularly sporting and television. It can be constantly updated, providing readers with the most up-to-date information on the go. As a Twitter user I would be more likely to participate in a liveblogging event on Twitter rather than through another website. An interesting article by Woods and Burkhaiter discusses celebrity endorsement on Twitter and whether this has any impact on brand popularity. Although celebrities may inadvertently promote products or brands through Twitter, it doesn’t have a huge impact on their popularity. Programmes such as the X Factor utilise microblogging sites to provide constant live updates during show time, an example of which can be seen below from the latest episode.
Cameron Chapman provides a useful guide to Liveblogging, including what to do before, during and after an event. She also offers an analysis of whether liveblogging is the right format for your event.
To learn more about the evolution of microblogging site Twitter, click here.