Live Blogging with Google Wave

I’ve been live blogging conferences for a few years and I can say it is extremely rewarding and frustrating.

The appreciation generated by your effort of sharing information from a live event is fantastic because a good conference live blog is useful to everyone, from conference organizers and participants to interested people elsewhere in the world.The frustration is very few platforms lend themselves to live blogging. They either lack real-time updating or they aren’t robust enough to be useful.

Then I discovered Google Wave (again).

Riding the Google Wave to Live Blogging Heaven

A few days before a recent conference I discovered a post by ReadWriteWeb, How to use Google Wave for Live Blogging. RWW highlighted how they used Google Wave to live blog a press conference and I knew I had to give Wave live blogging a try.

I mentioned the idea to my good friend Cotton 20min prior to the keynote and in typical “we’ll figure it out as we go” fashion we jumped right in. Soon we were both sharing thoughts and notes from the speakers in real-time on each of our blogs.

Within the hour a few friends we’d just met saw our tweets about the live blog and asked if they could help. This little moment snowballed into an amazing collaboration of an entire team live blogging a conference. Later that day as we had people in 2 different talks sharing notes and participating in an amazing backchannel conversation I knew I’d finally found my live blogging platform.

It offered every feature I needed

  • Real-time updating
  • Embedding on any website
  • Collaboration
  • & Formatting Tools

It worked wonderfully and we learned a lot.

Tips for a Successful Live Blog

Getting started with a Google Wave live blog is easy but to maximize it’s usefulness here are a few tips to consider. (The basic setup instructions can be found in the RWW’s article or see my demo video below for full instructions and a more thorough explanation of the points.)

Live Blogging with Google Wave from Keith Crawford on Vimeo.

Set the Ground Rules

If you plan on having collaborators you need to communicate your expectations.

  • What type of info are you looking for?
  • What should or should not be included?
  • Are backchannel conversations welcome?
  • Who is allowed to add others to the wave?

Formatting Matters

To make sure the live blog is readable and useful you’ll need to focus on organizing the information. I was born to write outlines so my live blogs naturally reflect an outline format.

  1. Conference Title
    1. Keynote
    2. Talk 1 (speaker,links)
      1. Primary Points
        1. Subpoints
        2. Notes
      2. Talk 2 (speaker, links)
        1. Primary Points

Whatever method you choose make it easy to find the information. Use Font size and weight to create visible breaks and highlights. If you don’t use Google Wave much play around with how the replies are threaded so you are comfortable with its use.


You’re already taking notes so why not share them with the world?

Live blogging with Google Wave can create a rich environment for valuable content. Let me hear about your next live blog and share your tips with the rest of us.

3 responses to “Live Blogging with Google Wave”

  1. […] zou willen dat ik dit blogje van Keith Crawford eerder had ontdekt. Natuurlijk is het mogelijk om live te bloggen : Met Google Wave ! Hieronder […]

  2. Great post and screencast! I would just add one thing to the top of the Wave (under the guidelines section)…. state who “owns” the blog and who is in charge of it. Then also post a disclosure that states you have the right to format, tweak or remove any and all posts to your liking. That way no participant is offended if you delete duplicates or change something that they have posted. They just understand it and expect it up front. And anyone who is reading it and not participating isn't surprised by changes made.

  3. Keith says:

    Thank you for your kind words and I couldn't agree more. Clearly state the
    “terms” up front so everyone understands.

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