Using Google+ for event coverage

Last week I attended the ILM East conference in Boston and rather than live-tweeting the event (plenty of people did that), I thought I’d try covering the event on Google Plus. It had its ups and downs so I thought I’d share them here to encourage more people to cover events this way, but also flag some of the current limitations with the system.

Let me also caveat that this is the first time I used Google + app on my HTC Flyer tablet to cover an event, so some of the items below may not be applicable to desktop coverage.

So…was it better?

Firstly, the format is more long-form, more akin to a blog, than tweeting so you don’t have condense highlights of the event into 140 character messages. Obviously tweeting teaches you the discipline of being concise, but most of the panels I covered just couldn’t be condensed that much. As a result, I probably generated less spam for my followers who could imply ignore a handful of posts as opposed to tens or hundreds of tweets.

The ability to take and quickly insert photos and screen grabs into the post, without worrying about formatting was pretty neat, as you can see in the example above, plus here’s a link to one of these posts. Being able to add video as well would be great but this didn’t seem possible without starting a separate post.

Ok…but did it have limitations?

The biggest barrier was trying to post from an alternative account. I have my own profile, but I was also set-up as a manager of a business account. It isn’t possible to flip between these profiles in the current G+ Android app.

The next thing I noticed was how difficult it was to reference  people in a G+ post since multiple people have the same name. Plus, there are still a lot of people, even at a digital conference, without G+ profiles.

I would have loved the functionality to save draft posts to re-visit later, since I sometimes wanted to start an alternative post of a quick topics, before reverting to my coverage of the event.

The largest and most obvious drawback is the lack of coverage. With the Google+ audience still growing, I would really have got more coverage from twitter to blogging. As a compromise I summarised a full days panels in one blog post.

I’m pretty happy with the G+ app, so I’ll definitely do this again, but there’s clearly more for Google to do to make the system as slick as either twitter or wordpress. nike air max ladies

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