During the time of many world events unfolded, many looked to Twitter, Facebook and their favourite news sites to get the latest information. What many don’t realize is that they also followed a ‘live blog’, a journalistic tool for news that’s important and breaking in real time.
Live blogs are also great for following the political process, as journalists covering the 2016 presidential campaign are using them to keep citizens engaged. Many sports websites use them so that people unable to watch a big event, like the Super Bowl, can get details on the latest score. But even though you’ve used one before, you’re still probably asking yourself, what exactly is a live blog?
A brief explanation of a live blog
A live blog is a sequence of brief, reverse-ordered bits of information that provide commentary on an event while it’s taking place. This technique is best suited for news that’s happening in the moment and where important facts are picked up in increments. Putting the news items pertinent to the story in order from most recent to least is a key aspect of the live blog. It allows readers to immediately understand what the latest update is so they aren’t left behind in the moment, and then they can sift through past details to understand the context.
Benefits of a live blog
Instead of reading a traditional article, live blog updates as the story unfolds, it can consist of user generated content (chosen by the editor), either from tweet, facebook, instagram or anywhere in the internet. Readers don’t have to sift through a long, dated news timeline to get the most important information. Editor will keep pushing real-time updates from field reporters or eyewitness accounts.
Live blogs also make the editing process a lot easier. Rather than having to constantly reshuffle their information to ensure that the story ultimately flows well, a live blog requires the author to simply check each individual entry before posting. There’s no need to make the whole thing cohesive, as each update is meant to stand on its own.
Another benefit is the pin and highlight feature of the live blog. Sometimes people may want the essential information right away, and what live blog allows the editor to do is to pin the most relevant information at the top of the blog or highlight essential piece of information. It can either be tweet, picture, video, image or banner. By highlighting/sticking editor choice content , reader can have the main context immediately. Keep in mind that it’s not good to pin too many items as with each new tweet or update you pin to the top, you lessen each one’s overall impact. That’s why it’s best to pin just two or three items at most.
Other uses of a live blog
Live blogs aren’t just useful for international news stories though. Many conventions and other business conferences use live blogs to let participants know what the most interesting situations happening at the event are. This helps attendees search them out and interact with them, allowing them to make the most of their experience. It’s also useful for those that aren’t there to follow the event, as they can stay connected to the big news items even if they aren’t there.
A great product to use live blogging is IdeaCloud. Integrating relevant social content and live reporting from the field, it’s a great piece of software for companies looking to take their social engagement to the next level.
Live blogs are a great way to share information in real time about popular, important events. They also help businesses share relevant content with their users to keep them coming back. Look into using a live blog to connect with your audience for big events, and you’ll see the benefits immediately.
- Posted by Bryan Xu