Live Blogging for Dummies

Live blogging could be distraction to some. Take Steve Jobs as an example. He once made all of the journalists in the room covering the launch of the product ‎put their laptops down, and even better, switch them off. Poor Jobs. He annoyed the journos without remorse. You cannot blame people for doing their job, Jobs!

So apparently live blogging is pretty much a hit maker especially when a hugely impactful event is in progress. Like the last live blog I was writing on that news site I work for. I was on fire writing about the verdict of Prabowo Subianto law suit. As we all know, he sued his opponents, accusing Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla of being tricky and slimy to win over him and Hatta Rajasa. He seemed to do it only to prove he is a loser once again. Another shame he brought for himself. The staunch supporters of Prabowo-Hatta rallied outside the Constitution Court and caused some physical clashes but luckily no one got killed in the process. The army on duty had been instructed to be less agressive (because perhaps Prabowo used to be part of them‎ and is still so no, though informally).

I was NOT there, to be blunt. I was only sitting at my desk, listening to some live streams broadcast on the web. Everyone was curious on what was going on and what was about to happen after the rally. I also summarized longer pieces of news spread on Twitter timeline of some news sites.

Basically this is what I do when I have to live blog indoor. I prepare a web page where I could write a line or two at first, and then as the time goes by, I will add more details chronologically. Mention hours and minutes to give impression you’re continously updating. So when they refresh your page, they can find something new to read, whether it be texts or photos or videos.

Here are some of my insights on live blogging based on my experience.

Focus, focus, focus!
You undoubtedly need to enhance you focus. It’s like listening exams, you listen to sources and process, summarize and publish the information and thoughts almost instantly. Without too long delay, or your readers will be disappointed. It’s very easy when you are in the middle of the quiet room. But when you have to cover outdoor events and liveblog about it, there’s extra mental work to do for you. Never forget to ask a friend or two to be with you to watch your belongings in case you need to use the bathroom for a minute or so. You cannot leave your laptop just like that in an open space where strangers‎ are anywhere to see. That holds true when you already get the right strategic spot to comfortably see and observe a live event and never want to relinquish it to other journos.

Make sure you’re near ‎unused power outlets

‎I cannot stress more on the importance of securing a spot near power outlets.

Make sure the connection works smoothly
After electricity supply is solved, you need to ensure your connection works at the desired speed. Never rely on one modem or one cellular operator. At least, provide two. Otherwise, you’ll cry a river when your favorite operator’s‎ service turn out to suck a lot there.

Get ready with your smartphone
Live blogging could be similar to live tweeting but of course you have to write longer, because you simply CAN. ‎Be more accurate as a reporter than a Twitter user.

And if you are an avid user of WordPress mobile application, you may use the app to live blog. Just add more details on one single blog post with time stamps for each update, with the latest right up there near the title. The app would be such a great tool when you cannot sit there to type on your laptop.

I haven’t given an outdoor live blogging a try. But my hunch is it is going to be a lot more challenging as you will have to deal with more distraction than live blogging indoor.

That said, happy live blogging!

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