Mediactive

Live-blogging, Live-Tweeting or What?

I managed to puzzle some of my Twitter followers this weekend, especially yesterday, when I posted a slew of tweets from the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, a company in which I’m a shareholder. I also had a media pass, which gave me admission to a press conference held by the company’s two senior leaders, Warren Buffett and Charles Munger.

I’ll talk about Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett and Munger in a separate post on my personal blog. It seems appropriate here, however, to chat briefly about the pros and cons of live-blogging versus live-tweeting, etc.

My regular Twitter followers were definitely not expecting the fire hose from me; normally I post anywhere from zero to a dozen or so Tweets a day, usually in the 6-9 range. Suddenly my Twitter stream turned into a torrent, and it came as a surprise to some followers.

One follower and good friend shot me an email asking, basically, WTF I was doing. I explained and said it was an experiment, probably a one-off. He replied, in turn, that he was kind of enjoying it, but still…

I’m fairly sure it was a one-time affair, and here’s why:

Live-tweeting strikes me as the wrong tool for this kind of task. It’s an impressionistic medium, not a deep one, at least so far in its history. If I’m going to keep notes for you about an event I’m witnessing, I’d prefer that you be able to find them easily as I write them — but also to find them in one place when it’s over.

The plus side of live-tweeting stems not just from what one person writes, but very much as well from others’ contributions to a running group observation and commentary. Hashtags make this easy. (I posted the Berkshire material with the #brk2010 hashtag, which a number of other journalists were using.) Following a group’s blog posts is, due to the nature of that medium, more difficult.

Other tools for this task include the excellent CoverItLive, which I’ll try sometime soon at an event I find newsworthy enough. One advantage of CoverItLive is the ability of several people to simultaneously add to the stream. (Is there a good open-source tool or WordPress plug-in that does the same things or has significant portion of the same features?)

But I’m leaning toward making it simple, and just using a blog from now on. I’d rather keep stuff on my own site, thank you, than turn it over to another company and the ever-morphing terms of service we see from providers of all kinds.

One worry this weekend turned out not to be a big deal: annoying people sufficiently that they’d unfollow me. A few did, especially during the Sunday press conference. Yet more started following at the same time, and the day left me with a net gain.

Bottom line: Next time I do something like this, I’ll probably live-blog and point to it from Twitter.

Of course, I’m still thinking about all this, and reserve the right to change my mind. More than once…