Live Tweeting Events: A Contrarian's View

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about live tweeting during events.  It appears to be “all the rage” for some, but here’s my (admittedly contrarian) view:  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Learning Versus Reporting

My reason is simple:  You can’t do two things well at the same time  – which has also been the theme spreading around Twitter for the past few weeks.  Consequently, if you stop to tweet during a seminar, YOU will lose part of what the speaker’s saying.  Not maybe, definitely.  In the end, it’s your loss and you’re free to accept that in the name of viral publishing.  However, I challenge you to review that decision based on the reasons for being at the event.  Is it to learn something or to report it to others? 

Reporters do this all the time, but they are primarily at the event to report to others.  You also “distract” yourself to take notes during a presentation, but I would posit to you that they are quicker and less intrusive to your learning experience.

Ultimately, I attend events to learn something (hopefully) from the speaker.  Thus, I generally want to focus that time on what they have to offer, not to regurgitate it for others.

Incomplete Thoughts

Tweeting snippets of a larger presentation is the equivalent of extracting sound bites from a press conference.  They are incomplete and often result in mis-communicating the intended message.  Is there value in sound bites?  Some.  Is it worth the lost learning opportunity?  Not in my opinion.

Respect for the Speaker

As a speaker, I accept that not everyone is paying attention all the time.  I also accept that it’s my responsibility to engage the audience.  However, I believe the audience has some responsibility to the speaker as well.  Consider what yours is before tweeting.

This is a quick-and-dirty post on the subject which I hope generates discussion.  My parting thought is to think before you tweet.  Even 140 characters can be meaningful if done with malice aforethought!

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