Memories and lessons learned

My experience live blogging…

Last week, Norman Finkelstein visited the University of Arizona’s campus and spoke to rooms full of students, professors, fans, and critics. His first lecture of the day covered the highly controversial topic of academic freedom. I used this lecture as a dry-run to figure out the ins and outs of Coveritlive.com. And thank God I thought to do that!!

Anyone considering a live blog should keep a few things in mind.
1) Go ahead and set up the event ahead of time on the coveritlive website. When you log in to your account, you can see a tab for where to build your event. This will save you from missing the opening moments of whatever you’re covering.

2) Tell your friends to follow it. There’s nothing more boring than a one-way conversation. Twitter, Facebook, whatever social network site you use, make sure to advertise the event to your friends and followers. If it’s an event interesting to you, most likely, someone else out there is just as geeked out about it as you are 😉

3) Practice!! Cover It Live allows you to practice the event before you go live with it. Take advantage of that. You can test out all the little buttons and play with all the tricks the site allows you to do. It’s a little more sophisticated than just tweeting updates every 5 minutes or so, so don’t think you can just wing it when you get there.

4) Make sure your computer has a full battery and the place you will be at has wifi.

5) Relax. You’re not going to catch every word. Try to do your best relying the gist of the message, the tone of the lecture, and the mood of the audience. If you mess up, you can go back and edit even after you close out the session.

So when that first lecture was over, I closed out the session and posted the embed code into my blog (as you can see below). However, that’s when I encountered another problem. WordPress kept changing the code when I hit the “Publish” button and instead of posting the live blog session directly to my blog, it just gave me a link 😦 I have no advice for why this happened or how to fix this. In fact, if anyone knows the answer, I’m all ears.

Sadly, I missed his second lecture of the day. I heard it was great though. But I did get to see his third and final lecture of the day. You can check out the live blog of that on the Cactus Chameleon website. This time, covering the event went much smoother, although let me just say how hard it is covering a lecture with such a controversial figure and trying to decide what to put in and what to leave out. Everything he said seemed important to me and I almost kind of felt just live streaming his lecture would’ve done it more justice! Oh well, something to work on…

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