Liveblogging alternatives

With Twitter continuing to struggle with the basics, web-based liveblogging continues to march ahead, with news of several new apps out there. But whether they will rival the current (clear) leader, CoverItLive, remains to be seen.
ScribbleLive is interesting from the very start: yes, you have to log in… but using existing logins from services like Facebook, Windows Live / Hotmail or (apparently) OpenID. Makes a huge amount of sense for a tiny startup to outsource one of the major annoyances to these big players: top marks already.
But whereas CoverItLive feels like a hosted broadcast event, ScribbleLive feels more like a conventional blog with instant commenting enabled (and yes, I mean ‘instant’). There’s no sense of ownership; it looks like everyone can edit/delete anyone’s entries. You can upload images into the comment stream, and even reference YouTube clips (with URLs automatically converted to embedded video… nice). You can email comments and pictures in, which is cool. he catch? – it all takes place on ScribbleLive’s site, with no easy ’embedding’ options as yet.
Writing in the comments on TechCrunch, co-founder Michael Monte describes it in terms of chat amongst friends. ‘You go to a concert or a conference, and you want to invite your colleges to contribute to the event or the last episode of Lost is on and you and your friends what to discuss as the plot unfolds.’ And whilst that’s fair enough, it doesn’t (currently) amount to much more than Instant Messaging on the web.
Backnoise has even fewer strings attached. There’s no sign-in whatsoever: you just need to know the name of the ‘chat’, and you’re there. All updates are posted anonymously, with input windows refreshing on a timer: no Ajax here yet. There’s a basic ’embed’ option, using IFRAMEs. But most remarkably, there’s a ‘wipe it and start afresh’ button (labelled ‘buzzkill’) available to every user?! One for the anarchists, I’d say.
And yes, inevitably, there’s talk of a WordPress-based solution. Currently in development, wpliveblog promises a ‘similar feature set to ScribbleLive’: and on reflection, it’s easy to see how that might work. WordPress has several levels of user rights, allowing one person (or several) to be designated as the lead blogger and/or comment moderator, with a few selected ‘guest panellists’ given lower-level rights to bypass moderation. I guess you’d use a similar technique to a plugin like Official Comments to apply a different presentational (CSS) style to ‘hosts’ comments’ and ‘contributions from the floor’. The normal WordPress admin interface might be slick enough to manage it already.
If I was liveblogging something in the near future, I see no reason not to use CoverItLive. But the competition is heating up, and there’s unquestionable appeal in a WordPress plugin. I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

One thought on “Liveblogging alternatives”

  1. Thanks for the review! I’m cooking up the ScribbleLive embed feature (this weekend – yes, I have no life) and it should be ready shortly, so I hope you’ll look us up in a week or so 😉

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