Just got back from Ignite Waterloo (more on that later), and what perplexes me about the event are 1) the existence of the twitter feed and 2) people twittering during the talks.
1) Projected twitter feed…was so distracting. Why do that to the speakers? At TEDxWaterloo it worked because it was outside so people can come out and check it out on their own time. But when a speaker is trying to get everyone’s attention, and there’s that going on the side, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
2) People twittering during the talks…wow, really? Each talk was only 5 minutes! Are people even listening to what the speakers are saying? Ok, they obviously heard what the speakers said, that’s how they twittered it, but I feel like it’s almost disrespectful to the speaker. Imagine if every single person in the room was twittering. What the speaker sees = top of people’s heads and no one’s eyes. Why are we doing a live talk then? I think the point of the live talk to for the speaker and audience to be engaged with each other and the least the audience can do is a) listen and b) look at the speaker! Admittedly, I couldn’t look at the ones who weren’t doing so well but hey, those speakers weren’t doing their job so I don’t have to do mine.
I think twittering during talks definitely changes the energy and dynamic of the experience and the relationship between the speaker and audience. “Back in the days,” when someone were unhappy with the talk, they’ll probably have unhappy thoughts and make an unhappy face. Now, they can also broadcast that thought instantaneously to the entire twitter community (and if it’s synced to facebook, their friends, too). Not only that, with the twitter feed projected on the wall, the speaker can even potentially see that comment!
So is that a good or bad thing? Good perhaps wherein the audience is being authentic and is giving feedback and if the speaker sees it, he/she can adjust his style/content accordingly. Bad perhaps for the reasons previous.
Note: If you saw me head down with my iphone in hand, I was taking notes on the notepad app 😛