I first learned about CoverItLive through Feministe, one of my favorite sources for feminist news and community. Before then, I’d always thought of “live-blogging” as the poor-blogger’s stenographer–attempting to cover an event with text only, updating as frequently as possible, but without true “live” capabilities. When blogs I read in college covered meetings of the undergraduate government, “live” just meant bloggers would comment on a post every few minutes with updates. Not exactly high tech.
As I learned when Feministe live-blogged the 2008 presidential debates, however, a software like CoverItLive can really engage a community in real-time discussion, voting, and content creation.
At first glance, a CoverItLive session might look a lot like a chat room. Moderators and participants have handles, text is entered and time-stamped, and folks can come and go as they please. Unlike a chatroom, however, moderators have the same control over content that they would in a comments thread. You can easily manage the comment stream through a separate Writer Console, while keeping an eye on the Viewer Window that all visitors see. You can instantly add in media during a session–either media you uploaded beforehand into a personal Media Library, or media you find during the session using built-in search tools. You can also poll the audience as often as you want throughout the session. When the live blog is complete, visitor can watch an instant replay of the entire session, complete with data from polling and multimedia.
So what would you like to see YALSA cover live? Live-blogging is a great way for folks who can’t attend an event (or find themselves double-booked, as so many of us do at conferences) to participate remotely. It’s also a way for YALSA events to have a lasting digital footprint, beyond merely posting materials to a wiki.