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Live Blogging: Inaccurate, Unedited Reporting

One of my pet peeves is live blogging.  Live blogging, of course, is when a blogger tries to write about an event as it happens.   It’s useless.  No one wants to read inaccurate, unedited reporting.   Maybe I’m just bitter that I’m at home this week, and not at Pubcon, and maybe I just can’t comprehend stream of consciousness writing, but I’ve never read a live blog that was at all useful.

For those of you living in a closet, I’m talking about people who try to keep up with a live speaker, or race to have the first post on breaking news.  They just write as it happens.  Have you ever tried it? It’s hard.  And no one is good at it.  There are lots of conference write-ups that are useful, and the authors above are great when they take the time to think about the post, and write clearly and concisely.

I read live bloggers regularly when they aren’t live blogging. I love their writing. I love their insight. I just can’t stand it when they try to be some sort of court stenographer.

Live blogging is shoddy journalism.

It’s a selfish disregard for reporting integrity.

Please stop.

Editors Note: Readers may note that the bloggers i mention live-blog better than I regular-blog. To that I say: “aren’t you glad I don’t live blog? Man, that would REALLY suck”

Editors Note #2:
I’ve pulled the individual bloggers from this post. I did not mean this as an attack on them, I simply feel that live blogging is beneath their skills and talents.
One more reason to hate live blogging

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27 Responses to “Live Blogging: Inaccurate, Unedited Reporting”

  1. Keri Morgret Says:

    A copy of what I posted to the Sphinn submission.

    I disagree with all of the points in the Sphinn summary, and in the post. The assertions that the posts are inaccurate and unedited are not backed up by anything, and in my observation, not at all true. Please show me where this post by Virginia on the BC blog is inaccurate, unedited, or useless.

    I’ve liveblogged for Barry at SER at SES SJ and SMX West. I often ignore the Q&A so I can go back and clean up the post, add formatting, review what I’ve written, and still have it off to Barry within minutes of the end of the session. While I’m grabbing Advil and cookies between sessions, Lisa and Susan and Virginia are sitting there revising their posts for submission. I don’t follow Michael’s liveblogging, but I see that the post in question generated 25 comments — pretty good for something that is inaccurate, unedited, and useful I’d say.

  2. DazzlinDonna Says:

    Who tied your head to your monitor and forced you to read live blogging? Just step away from the computer and you’ll be fine.

    Lots of us appreciate the effort the live bloggers take. And we appreciate the fact that they do it so well.

  3. Keri Morgret Says:

    Last sentence should read “pretty good for something that is inaccurate, unedited, and useless I’d say.”

  4. Annie Cushing Says:


    I would respectfully disagree with your perspective. I was not able to attend Pubcon either and have been very appreciative of the live blogging efforts of those attending, especially Lisa Barone’s.

    I actually have a list of task items as a result of her blogging:

    * Research how we could possibly use Facebook Connect to leverage better Facebook integration.
    * Sign up for the Google Hot Trends feed to keep my finger on the pulse of which keywords in my industry are white hot.
    * Download the FF Macros plugin to track Google Insights data.
    * Research Delicious to excavate industry keywords that we may be overlooking.
    * Stop allowing myself to be hamstrung by paralyzing perfectionism. (Elizabeth Archambault read my mail in that session. Reading about it on the WBP blog saved me the discomfort of wincing under the burden of self-revelation on that one. heh)
    * Research how we can use widgets and iframes to keep people on our sites longer.
    * Oh, and I already downloaded the WWSGD plugin that asks people to follow me when they visit my blog. Very cool.

    Furthermore, I take issue with the leap of logic in your argument that live blogging is shoddy journalism. You allege that the reporting from Pubcon is inaccurate but then, in the very next breath, concede that you’re not at the conference.

    So, in the spirit of journalistic integrity, how do you feel you’re in a place to renounce reporting as inaccurate and subpar if you’re not there? Such hyperbole is indicative of yellow journalism and gives the appearance that you’re roiling the pot to generate traffic to your blog. (I’m not accusing you of that, merely stating how your illogical diatribe appears.)

    And, since you brought up the issue of unedited blogging a couple times in your post, I thought I’d point out – as a former journalist and editor – that “stream of consciousness” (first paragraph, last sentence) should be hyphenated since you use it as an adjective.

  5. jcoronella Says:

    Annie, You make my point for me. Your comment is 10x the post that ANY of the live blogging posts that have littered the internet over the last 3 days. There are highlights, commentary and opinion, and I can read it without wincing (aside, of course, from the direct attacks).

    If you have any respect for the bloggers you have to agree, she’s not some monkey you pay on Amazon Turk to transcribe at $0.10 a paragraph.

    My intention is not to roil the pot, it is something that has irked me for a long time. Not only is it a waste of talent, it’s the same sort of bogus SEO tactic as sites that merely transcribe YouTube videos of Matt Cutts for content.

  6. How to pretend you’re at #Pubcon » SEM Training & Certification Says:

    [...] Fake Live Blog – According to this blog post, live blogging of the sessions are innacurate reporting so no need to worry about getting it right. Now don’t go just copy someone else’s [...]

  7. Barry Schwartz Says:

    I have to say, I am insulted.

  8. Doug Heil Says:

    Hi John, I for one applaud you for being honest and unafraid to go against the establishment. While I do not believe this live blogging stuff is a big deal at all; this all shows just how the inner circle friends stand up for each other no matter what. I actually think this is all very much a non-issue as people can simply not read the live blogging stuff if they wish, or actually go to the conference if they wish. I think this shines a light on the much bigger issue in that many out there are afraid to say “anything” negative at all about the people who put themselves out there on a daily basis. It sort of reminds me of real celebrities or politicians who start whining and crying because someone outside of their circle said a bad thing about them.

    Everything you wrote is actually very true. If you were Danny Sullivan writing this, no one would have said much at all. You are not in the circle, so who the heck are you to say anything negative? :-) I think most out there know exactly what I mean.

  9. Fake T-Shirt Friday: I’m Live Blogging This | Online Marketer .com Says:

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  10. Kim Krause Berg Says:

    It’s always easiest to condemn something you’ve never done yourself.

  11. jcoronella Says:

    Exactly. Like heroin or hard core pornography.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying good live blogging isn’t hard, I’m saying it’s not possible.

  12. Mike Dammann Says:

    I have to say, there are live bloggers doing an awesome job considering the hurry they are in, while others waste your time posting something just to have the advantage of being first.
    it all depends on the blogger but I do agree a message should be sent to those who are not supplying enough good information to make their live blogs worth reading.

  13. pmac Says:

    <<<<I can read it without wincing

    For the record, I winced.

  14. Ben Pfeiffer Says:

    Dude really, find something else to bitch about like the state of the economy or George W. Bush. I have been liveblogging with Barry since the beginning and while its not always perfect journalism it does often serve a valuable source of information for those that can’t afford or don’t want to attend Pubcon or SES in person.

  15. Doug Heil Says:

    I’d rather bitch about Barack Husein O’bama actually.

    John took out the names as he stated. All that is left is his opinion about live blogging. Where’s the beef anyway? Why the heck are people so upset about this? lol I know why. I know exactly why. Funny stuff. Keep on stating your opinion John. If the others can state their opinion and never have a negative backlash in seo circles, why can’t you or anyone else state your opinion?

  16. Michael Says:

    I have a new rule: the Heil corollary to the Hitler law.

    When Doug agrees with you: the debate is over and you’re wrong :)

  17. aimClear Says:

    How sad is this. Call this post what it is: second tier Sphinn bait, which accomplished its goal. Rusty Brick has done more for the SEM industry that multiple publications of this blog’s insight and quality. John Coronella lost me as a feed subscriber today, which is the true “power of one.”

    @John: This post is closer to “selfish disregard for reporting integrity.” than nearly all of the live blogging I read from PubCon.

    Finally, please point out the “lack of integrity” in this post, one of the 7 posts I live blogged for Barry:

  18. aimClear Says:

    @Doug Heil: At some point you may need to say something positive in public.

  19. aimClear Says:

  20. jcoronella Says:

    aimClear: Well it wasn’t ‘Sphinn Bait’, it was a very honest respons to something that has bothered me a long time. I actually only joined Sphinn after people started talking about me there so I could respond.

    I don’t have time to read through transcripts. Why don’t you summarize the best points and add your opinions and I’d be happy to read it.

  21. Doug Heil Says:

    Hi Michael; why don’t you stay at your home with your Mother Jill W?

    aimClear; hmm, thought I did actually. I agree with John’s points. That’s positive, right? Oh, maybe a comment is only positive if you praise the “sphinn” and sullivan cronies? Praising others outside of that circle is just not playing the game fair, huh? :)

  22. John H. Gohde Says:

    Here, is a thought. Pay attention to the speaker conducting the session. Take notes. And, after you have digested what the speaker had to say on the topic, write an in depth post on it.

    Just say NO to shoddy journalism, in ALL its forms.

  23. Singapore SEO Says:

    Live blogging is good only if the blogger could telecast the event live on webcam.

  24. Matt Webb Says:

    @dougheil wtf does Barack Obama have to do with anything on this blog post? The election is over, move along…

  25. Doug Heil Says:

    Hi Matt; that was in response to this comment by Ben above;

    “Dude really, find something else to bitch about like the state of the economy or George W. Bush”

    So I responded to it. Maybe you should move along by reading every comment?

    I’m very sure if this exact same opinion was given by a Sphinn moderator; all would be just fine with it. Instead; it’s written by a very known WMW moderator, so his opinion is not fine? Funny stuff guys/gals. Just because someone does not contribute to sphinn does not mean they are not worthy or something. I’m still not sure what the big deal is about this. I’ve read where live bloggers are actually taking this personally. My goodness. Me thinks this industry needs a totally new and revamped skin care treatment to treat the tell-tail signs of a skin disease known as “thin skinned”.

  26. aditya Says:

    Some time ago i posted a comment in seroundtable. I did not like the mostly unformatted and unedited write ups that Barry’s live blogging produced, so i pointed out a few mistakes in one of the reports. Almost immediately Barry pounced on me and sent me an email stating that he was doing people like us a ‘favor’ by live blogging and i should shut up and leave the blog if i did not like it. Well, thats what i did – i left the blog forever.

    Endnote – people like Barry should remember that they are not doing anyone any favors by live blogging. No one cares if you put in 24hrs of the day to blog, if your product is substandard.

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