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…

10 thoughts on “Live-blogging, Live-Tweeting or What?”

  1. I know that Harry McCracken has used CoverItLive to feed WordPress-based Technologizer. He probably knows more about it than most., You might check with him.

  2. Good post. Agree with your conclusions re: live blogging instead. However, sometimes, live tweeting just… happens and isn’t as planned out. Which is good when there is some really good stuff to share. I follow you and I didn’t mine your live-tweeting. Some of it was interesting.

    In regards to the unfollowing someone who is live-tweeting… I’d like to see a “Mute” or “Pause” button on someone’s profile so their tweets stop showing up in my timeline for (maybe) 24 hours. Then after that (and, after the convention) their tweets are back. This would be helpful during twitter-fights, too.

    1. Clearly a good feature for a third-party developer to add to a Twitter client.

  3. I’ve livetweeted several hearings and candidates’ nights, then used that as notes to build a blog post.

    Some folks really appreciate it, but others hate it with the blinding fury of 10,000 suns. So I’ve set up a separate account just for livetweeting and will use hashtags for “threading” it all. Then I’ll let followers of my regular account know where to find me and those that really want to drink from the firehose will be able to.

  4. I find it really embarrassing when adults use the term “tweet.” Twitter is a micro-blogging platform and, as such, you post to it, same as any blog. If people are going to insist on this baby talk we should start calling blog posts like this “bleats.”

  5. Dan, why don’t you live tweet, if you do, using another Twitter account that we shouldn’t follow (or that you create and then delete), and tweet that people can temporarily follow you there. In any case, the hash tag will ensure that it gets added to the tweet-flow. Also, in any case, you should be saving your observations into a blog post of some sort, either at the same time (cut and paste into another window?) or after the fact (by copy/pasting your tweets to that account). Does that work?

    1. Sounds complicated, Dan — but I like the general approach.

      I suspect Twitter and third-party developers will, over time, make this much better for all users.

  6. I have an old friend (@graemeThickins on Twitter) that’s been tweeting events for a couple of year – I turn him off when he’s doing it – even live blogging – I’d much rather have his & your “studied” opinion in a blog post summary/review than a live blow-by-blow.

  7. Ugh… I always worry about “spamming” followers when I’m on TweetChats. I wish there was a way to LIMIT tweets to ONLY be “seen” the by those viewing hashtag! That would make live Tweeting so much more tolerable — for everyone!

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