Live … from someone’s laptop

I love a live blog. You know the kind: the tongue-in-cheek mix of commentary, photos and videos, angry reader debates and social media tidbits that accompany any major (but, let’s be honest, boring) event. The Oscars, the Olympic opening ceremony, the latest AFL game … These days, it’s a rare occasion that doesn’t warrant a live blog. They’re the latest must-have tool when it comes to sharing breaking news.

So, exactly why are live blogs my ‘viewing’ method of choice? To begin with, many of the international events that attract the interest of bloggers fall at times when most of us here in Australia are sat in front of an office computer screen rather than a television. Live blogs therefore offer a preview of the main event; a warning, if you will, of what to expect before committing to five hours of rerun-watching on the couch.

Second, live bloggers are a witty bunch. I like to hear their opinions about Anne Hathaway’s scripted Oscars speech, the gaffes made by candidates during the seemingly endless US presidential campaign, or the even-more-drawn-out drama enacted by the Masterchef judging panel. Plus, when journalists are actually present at the events, it’s nice to know how long they’ve queued at the bar for a beer, or which celebrity looks most bored/drunk/offended by inappropriate jokes made by a presenter. Such attention to detail helps readers feel like they’re part of the action, creating an atmosphere that’s missing from our living rooms.

Third, live blogs invite reaction from their audience. They engage readers and generate discussion. And sometimes anger, which takes me to the fourth praiseworthy characteristic of the medium: live blogs attract very funny comments. Anonymous readers exchange opinions – and insults – as they share with the blogger their somewhat less articulate interpretations of the event in question.

Finally, live blogs come to the rescue when things on screen get confusing. Did anyone else think the character played by Kenneth Branagh during the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was meant to be Charles Dickens, a Hobbit or even a lost Abraham Lincoln? Turns out he was Isambard Brunel – reciting Shakespeare, just in case we weren’t already bamboozled.

In the absence of clarity, it was live blogs to the rescue yet again.