People who need people

Looking at my diary, I have booked to attend three seminars about online media marketing for HE over the next couple of months. I started thinking about a mildly satirical piece on this – how despite the Internet we’re still catching real trains, meeting in real function rooms, drinking real coffee. But then I thought – what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that how it should be?

Sure, online media and virtual environments mean it is possible to interact in ways that don’t involve a ‘fleshmeet’. There are new ways of doing things without meeting up, such socialising, learning, buying stuff – meaning fewer real-world encounters. But the new channels also create new ways for people to meet in reality – meaning additional real-world encounters. The forthcoming Twestivals around the globe – where Twitter users will attend events with music and various kinds of fun and frolic – are a great example. (There’s one in Liverpool if you fancy it.)

Trying to Cover It Live

Last Saturday we used the Graduation Ceremony as an opportunity to try an experiment in live blogging, using an online tool called Cover It Live. You can see the results here.

CoverItLive has some neat features and is pretty easy to use. People with ‘Producer’ accounts get a simple editing window with the usual tools for formatting, links etc. There can be multiple ‘producers’ at one time. The audience can comment, and comments can be moderated. It can be set up to receive messages from Twitter therefore allowing posts to come in from any person/device using Twitter – I texted a few bits in to test this out. (Unfortunately we forgot to turn this off so some of my presumed-personal ones appeared this morning – nothing too psychotic or surreal luckily.)

The big disappointment from Saturday was that we couldn’t get the ‘media uploader’ to work, so adding pictures was very diufficult. As there isn’t a lot to say about a graduation, this was limiting – I think it would have been best as a photo-stream with a few comments, giving a less formal view on the event before/during/after. Next time maybe.

Live blogging could work well for all sorts of events. We only scratched the surface – video, audio, and polls could be used also. Given a bit of person-power a conference, for instance, could have a live blog.

Thanks to everyone who participated, specially ‘official blogger’ Tom.

Update: Experimenting later we have found that (for us) the media uploader function works in Firefox, but not IE.