Saturday, 14 June 2008

Chat logs and live blogging - to publish or not to publish, that is the question

IYan Writer argues that publishing chat logs of meetings is not only unhelpful as a record of the meeting but downright harmful (because it pollutes Google search results), Event chat transcripts considered harmful.

I can't bring myself to totally agree (largely because I have published such things in the past and will probably do so again) but I understand where he is coming from. I think there probably is a time and place for publishing full transcripts (hey, I'm as lazy as the next person) but I also agree very strongly with IYan, that investing time in summarising the issues for people provides something far more meaningful and useful.

I live-blogged the Learning From Online Worlds; Teaching In Second Life final meeting held yesterday at the London Knowledge Lab (UK). This was the final meeting of a project that we (the Eduserv Foundation) funded about a year ago and featured talks by project staff (Diane Carr, Martin Oliver and Andrew Burn), Britta Pollmuller, Tanya Krzywinska and Aleks Krotoski. It was a great event but I'm slightly worried that my live-blogging attempt isn't much more useful than a transcript even as useful as a transcript.

The trouble with live blogging is that you don't really get time to draw out the themes - it's just a stream of consciousness, driven by what the speakers are saying. This was made worse yesterday because I felt I didn't understand the space being talked about well enough to summarise (or even capture at some points) in a useful way.

Live-blogging is a real art - and one that I'm still learning. Someone said to me after the meeting yesterday that it's not just about taking notes - to a certain extent you are also putting on a performance - you are interacting with a remote audience as well as trying to track what is happening in the room. Not an easy thing to so. That said, I'm reasonably convinced it is a worthwhile investment of my own time - if nothing else, I find that committing myself to live-blogging an event, forces me to pay attention to things far more closely than I otherwise would. The major problems arise where you want to ask questions of the live speakers and/or engage in debate in the room - at which point live-blogging has to go on hold for a while.


! said...

For people such as myself (several hundred quid just to fly to the mainland), plus anyone eco-, time- or cost- conscious, live-blogging is a hell of a lot better than no-blogging! It seems to generally work very well, though as a reader and commenter, am not sure if/when I should add a comment, in case it starts a discussion that flies off at a tangent and the core "event blog" gets smothered by it.

Disagree profoundly with IWs position. The problem is arguably with Googles indexing and/or end-users search skills. Starting to omit making content available online because of those two problems wrong; the problems themselves need to be addressed.

A well-tagged conference, with pictures, movies, a static blog, transcript and live blog and/or in-world feed, provides many possibilities for during- and after- event analysis. It's a shame that more conferences don't hire people just to live-blog and run alternative online streams e.g. in SL, during the event.

Eloise said...

It got long, so I posted on my own blog.

Unknown said...

I disagree, and put a sharp disagreement upon IYan's blog. Chatlogs are a time-honoured tradition in SL because of the need for accountability, and people actually love reading them, because they are full accounts and it's like being there, and they get all the nuances. They have adapted. Those who don't like it don't have to read, or can skim.

I'd rather have a journalist listen carefully to a speech and take some notes, then write a piece afterwards with coherence, than live blog. I find many live bloggings of events sound like people on LSD trips.

Art Fossett said...

Thanks for the comments so far...

I agree with Prokofy that preserving the record for accountability purposes is important. And with Eloise that Kisa's chatlog tool significantly improves the readability of otherwise bland chatlogs and that it's really about choice and what is useful in the context of any given meeting.

I've made a slight change to the original post because my wording in the middle implied that I thought my live-blogging was more useful than a chatlog - which I don't necessarily.

What's the RL equivalent of a chatlog? A recorded audio stream I guess? I wonder if some combination of audio stream and live-blogging would work best - then the live-blogger wouldn't have to worry about trying to capture everything but could focus more on the reflective stuff.

I also wonder if asking several people in the RL meeting to live-blog collaboratively would improve the overall experience of tracking the blog remotely?

Re: LSD. I hope my live-blogging doesn't come across like that - though LSD wouldn't go amiss in some of the meetings I have to sit thru.