At Edelman’s Third Annual New Media Academic Summit, I spent the first day listening and taking notes, and I spent the second day live tweeting. Some of my colleagues and students expressed interest in following the twitter coverage, and I wanted to deliver insight to people who did not attend. I also wanted to see what it was like to live tweet an event to help me decide whether to have my large lecture class live tweet during some of my class sessions.
I found that I missed information by live tweeting. Thankfully, I could watch the second day sessions to see what I missed.
Why was Listening Interrupted?
While listening to the speakers, I
1. followed other conference attendees’ live tweets on our conference hashtag
2. responded to other attendees’ live tweets
3. tweeted and proofed my tweets
4. engaged in discussion with non-conference attendees who commented on my tweets
It is no wonder that I did not hear everything the speakers said. Les Potter identified someone with similar problems at an exclusive session of the IABC conference. His discussion of this detached live tweeter is worth reading.
Is Live Tweeting Bad Manners?
I also felt uncomfortable looking at my computer screen while speakers were talking. I think that talking to someone who is not looking at you can be difficult, and I felt like it was bad manners to be looking at my computer screen. Perhaps it would not have been so bad if I had sat in the back of the room, but I generally find this area to be noisy, making it difficult to listen to the speakers. I prefer to sit toward the front. In a comment to Les Potter’s post, Robert Holland referred to live tweeting as an “obnoxious distraction.” His comment resonated with my experience.
I like the idea of being able to discuss what speakers are saying via Twitter; I did not like doing it while our speakers were giving presentations.
I think it would be great for meeting planners to designate staff members to live tweet a conference for those not able to attend. This way, conference attendees would not even need to consider live tweeting so that others could follow the conference from a distance. Discussion via Twitter could be appropriate during designated break times.
I don’t plan to live tweet again. Instead, I will be fully present and listen. I can post updates to twitter during a break and write a substantive blog post at night.
What Do You Think About Live Tweeting?
Thank you, Edelman, for a wonderful conference! The sessions were engaging, and it was a treat getting to spend time with the participants.