Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tech and media sites live blog the Apple iPad event, with mixed results; Engadget tops the bunch

I had a bit of fun this morning making fun of the tech sites on Twitter. Every silly, predictable move by Apple, such as taking down its online store, was repeated on Twitter as if it were some momentous event.

Each website was, of course, trying to out do the other, but it was a pretty futile exercise, everyone would be hearing or reading the news about the new iPad at the same time, so efforts to post something one or two seconds before everyone else was rather juvenile.

In the end, the main event was live blogging – everyone seems to be doing it. Eventually the tech and general media will realize that it is time to do pool reporting, but for now we have lots of live blogs.
Today's winner, for me, was Engadget – simply because they did not crash. It was smooth sailing from just before the event right on through. I also love the way they have a scrolling photo gallery at the top of the live blog. This keeps the text posts clean, and allows readers to scroll through photos that are important to them.

For others sites, notably Ars Technica, live blogging was a disaster. The tech site used ScribbleLive, which apparently couldn't handle the traffic. The site, though, continued to Tweet updates and managed to keep the show rolling. Hey, it can happen to anyone, right?
The Verge also had a live blog – and though they, too, suffered outages – but I liked the way they "pinned" important announcements to the top of the live blog. The casual reader could then keep up with the event without dedicating all their attention to it.

In the end, I shut down all the live blogs with the exception of Engadget's so that I could follow just the one live blog plus my Twitter feed.

News organizations should see if they might, with enough pre-planning, combine specially compiled Twitter feeds with a live blog as a way of reporting and aggregating news during more important news events.