Quite frankly, I used to hate live blogging. I would, for the fun of it, live blog the Oscars or another awards show. It was always a pain, having to constantly save and refresh, plugging in the time stamp and everything else. For readers, liveblogging is interesting but you must consistently refresh the page.
Today I wanted to try out CoveritLive, a free (yes, free) live blogging tool out of Toronto. I was planning on listening to the audio stream for the Stevenote, er, keynote at Apple’s WWDC anyway. So not only did I listen, I live blogged it.
Earlier in the day, I registered at CoveritLive.com and set up the announcement and post for the blogging. When 1 pm EST rolled around, I jumped right into the live blogging fray, putting CoveritLive through the paces. I believe that I was only one of many bloggers using CoveritLive for the keynote. I mention that because the response time was initially slow and a lot of my posts were “eaten” and not displayed. Others displayed about 3 or 4 times. About an hour into the keynote, things somehow managed to even out, and the application functioned wonderfully. I mention this because you aren’t always going to be liveblogging at the exact same time as so many other people and I think it might have put some strain on their system.
CoveritLive is initially an embedded tool on your web site. You blog “in the clouds,” using a special window on the CoveritLive web site. This window gives you access to your media library, reader stats, standby mode and other tools. Had anyone been paying attention to my little experiment, I could have interacted with my readers via comments and polls. I was happily able to edit my liveblogging event after I finished, taking care of some of the repeated posts and crazy spelling errors.
From the readers perspective, there is no need to constantly refresh. You see each new line item as it happens, in real time. You can also interact with the host, via chat like comments. After the event has ended, you can view the liveblog just by hitting the replay button.
Recently, CoveritLive has upgraded their feature set. You can now download your code after the blogging session and drop it directly into your site. This gives you the SEO benefit of the liveblogging. I’ll probably do that to my own liveblogging session in a few days. You can also customize the liveblogging window. The default template is for CoveritLive, of course, but you can follow their explicit instructions (exact sizes of images, etc) to create your own template in the right colors and with your own logo. You can add Panelists & Producers, which is an option for more than one contributor to the blogging event. You can even contribute or view from an iPhone Viewer.
If you think about it, such a simple way to liveblog an event should have an interesting effect on citizen (and professional) journalism. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you’re done. You can liveblog from a concert, from a meeting, or anywhere else, live and in the moment.
CoveritLive is still searching for the right way to make some money off of its tool. Regardless, they intend to always have a free version. While they are searching for ways to improve the tool even more and to monetize their idea, jump right in there and have a go. Liveblogging can be fun again, and no longer a dreaded event.