If you can’t make it to a conference or a presentation, you used to be able to rely on one or two people in the audience to summarize what was said, more or less in real time. This liveblog often amounted to the only record of the event, which is one reason to forge ahead and do it even if ninnies don’t like the sound of a keyboard in use. Nobody does it better than I do.

Now, if we are to believe certain journalists, the hot new cyberbullying medium called Twitter is the hot new way to cover a conference. Just how well can you précis real-time speech in 140 characters, one-fifth of which are taken up by hashtags?

How can you the reader actually comprehend a reverse-chronological list of 120-character snippets? Especially from more than one person at a time?

Is it not entirely possible that a full thought or sentence requires more than 120 characters?

Worse, if you use some half-assed system like CoverItLive, which doesn’t even exist on your own blog but is hived off somewhere else, what happens when their hoped-for next round of VC funding goes south and they shut down the whole service?

How, incidentally, do you Google these Twits or CoverItLive Flash applications? How do you piece HumptyDumptyCon back together again from his shattered, intermingled, incoherent component parts?

Rather like top-posting, if you think Twittering or CoveringItLive is a responsible and effective way to document a presentation, are you merely demonstrating your own ignorance, unsophistication, and denial of settled history? (UPDATE [2010.01.06]: Shel Israel makes a similar point amusingly.)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.08.07 15:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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