Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tweeting while you talk?

So, I have been doing a fair number of speeches lately, and you always wonder what people in the audience are thinking. Might they be publishing tweets with their opinions while you talk? Here is a humorous view from Marc Perry at The Chronicle for Higher Education.


e-Patient Dave said...

Dude, it's not humorous - it's real! I saw a talk at a fall conference with the big monitors on the sides, showing the Twitter feed, and stuff appeared like "Doesn't this guy know his suit doesn't fit?"

Regarding this very article, I tweeted today, "Could this be the end of boring speeches?? Real-time "can't hide" evaluations on the fly?"

Very much the digital equivalent of throwing beer bottles at the stage in a honkytonk.

e-Patient Dave said...

Wow, how timely - just yesterday a speaker at Web 2.0 Expo was "tweckled" in what this writer describes as an ugly mob scene.

I feel sorry for the speaker; don't know what I'd do in that situation.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds as the more civilized part of conference audiences evolves standards. I can imagine:

a) Tweetfeed monitor visible to speaker - probably distracting

b) It becomes uncool / low-life to mob-tweckle; twecklers become no longer amusing so it dies out. (An audible heckler can disrupt, but a tweckler without piling-on gets nowhere)

c) Tweetfeed tools might evolve that let a moderator block offenders.

This all sounds like a topic for @LeeAase, Mayo Clinic's social media guru, and chancellor of SMUG (Social Media University, Global - a real curriculum with meat on its bones).

e-Patient Dave said...

Not to hog this subject, but it does interest me... just discovered another post, from October, on the general subject of Twitter hecklers.

The author's advice gets back to basics that I think every speaker should honor, starting with knowing your frickin' audience and what interests them, and continuing through "Don't suck." (My word, not hers.)

Ted Eytan sometimes starts talks by saying "It's fine with me if you do email or browse the web while I talk. It's my job to be more interesting than your email."

He is all about service, that man.

Anonymous said...

This is getting too funny. Dave, how many honky-tonks have you been in?! Ha!

I can see this in the university setting. Having given a few guest lectures, seeing sleeping medical students was bad enough. Having them tweet about how boring I was might affect them on my test questions! (:


Kourtney Govro said...

Great posts Dave.
I am surprised that people are gutsy enough to tweet negative things about a speaker. I saw that on facebook the other day. A person SLAMMED a presenter about how little they knew on the subject.

Has common courteousy left the building?

I do however think that it’s AWESOME that they had a live twitter feed during the presentation – it would have been great to use for questions. I am going to try that next time I speak.

I did see the other day (on Twitter) that the word "Unfriend" is the word of the year and they think "UnFollow" will be next.

Lee Aase said...

I haven't had the terrible experiences with "tweckling" described above. I do, however, think it's an example of the need for my Thesis #7: Hand-wringing about merits and dangers of social media is as productive as debating gravity.

We can talk about whether it's good or not to have tweeting during presentations, but it's increasingly going to be a reality. So if someone thinks the crowd is getting out of hand, he or she should stand up and say something. Mobs CAN get out of hand. I guess that's really the definition of a mob.

My experience with tweeting during meetings has been just the opposite, though. It really helps to spread the word about the event and presentation, and has led to fruitful interactions.

I think if people are consistently snarky in their conference tweets, others will see through it.

e-Patient Dave said...


How many honkytonks have I been in?? What, like you have, and you know enough about me, in my boyish innocence, to know I haven't?

I know exactly what I've seen in movies, thank you. :) And heard about, second hand.

Anyway, it IS the equivalent of that, no?

(Very pleased that Lee showed up, btw.)

Ted Eytan said...

Hi - there, Dave sent me this thread and I commented back to him, which he asked me to repost here, so I will.

I essentially agree with Lee (not that this is a debate, I identify with his perspective)...and continue to appreciate Paul's creation of a forum to discuss!

"Hey Dave,

Well I am always complimented when you quote me! I read the thread and about the tweckling - I'm sticking to my guns - why didn't the speaker just stop and say, "what's so funny?" I've done it before.....but it does take speaker awareness. The rules in the future are going to have to tilt toward the audience, because the speaker's right to waste people's time is going to be curtailed...."