Thoughts on Twitter – Part 2

A little over a month ago I posted that I saw no purpose to Twitter … I was wrong. I don’t really have a day to day need to post what I’m doing, but while at Computers in Libraries I signed up because everyone around me was communicating and I felt left out.

David Lee King writes:

Twitter rocks. Sure, it might be a fad. Sure, it might end up being a waste of time (I ultimately don't think so). But with a mostly reliable wifi connection in the conference rooms, there was a constant undercurrent of short one-liner discussions that were fun, and in some cases, really added to the conference. For those participating, it allowed you to see what others were thinking while the speaker was still talking. And make dinner plans"¦ and pass a bunch of insider jokes"¦ 🙂

And it was true – at Internet Librarian last year I was never sure where people were going for dinner – or after dinner – this way I was able to keep up with everyone. It was also neat to hear tidbits of other presentations from around the conference center.

So – final verdict? I don’t need Twitter on a daily basis, but I’m certainly going to keep using it at conferences to keep up with everyone and everything – except maybe the Code4Lib conference where everyone is on the IRC channel anyway 🙂

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  1. Am I the only person in the CIL/IL universe that thinks using your laptop during a presentation is rude to the presenter? Twitter just seemed to make things worse.

  2. Well, most of the time I’m using my laptop to take notes. I do write notes as well – but it’s much easier to blog a conference if I type up the notes as the speaker talks and edit it all later.

    Plus, a lot of people are live blogging the talk – so they kind of need their laptops out.

    As for the Twitter thing – I see what you’re saying – but this is the age of multi-tasking 🙂 And I can concentrate and type at the same time.

    As a speaker myself, I don’t mind the laptops.

  3. I do agree that we are a multitasking society. And of course if you are taking notes on your laptop how much does it effect the speaker if you twitter about what he/she is saying. For me it might enhance the presentation if I could chat with someone as it was going on. It’s much less rude than talking to your neighbor during a presentation.

  4. I’m a little conflicted too Heather about focusing on a speaker, not only to concentrate on what they are saying, but also to focus and pick up a more nuanced understanding of what they are trying to convey.

    However, having just attended the 140 | The Twitter Conference I have a somewhat evolved perspective. I’ve never been at a conference where literally the vast majority of the audience was not only not looking at the speaker but also furiously typing or seemingly paying attention to their laptop and mobile device screens.

    What I quickly found though was how powerful it was to read the #140tc (twitter hash tag) stream of what participants were “tweeting.” All of sudden I got the benefit of insight into the collective wisdom, thoughts, emotions and reactions of the whole audience of 300+ people – not just the 1 or 2 “experts.”

    A couple of other benefits of this, on-the-surface-otherwise-rude, phenomenon:
    – panelists could respond to real-time attendee thoughts or questions
    – if panels were straying or uninteresting, there was a stream of very interesting input to pay attention to
    – people who were not in attendance could actually participant by reading the stream or asking those in the room for clarification or even to ask questions of panelists
    – created social connection – I met 1/2 dozen people based on their “tweets” at the conference that I wouldn’t have at a more traditional conference

    I’m summarizing some of my other learnings in a series of blog posts “What I Learned at 140 | The Twitter Conference”

    Brent (@smokejumper)

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