… what attendees are saying about their presentation – in real time, no less?
You better pay attention to what that crowd in front of you may be silently texting to each other, according to one thoughtful social media thought leader, Rohit Bhargava. In fact, he gives six reasons why you should follow the Twitter conversation in your audience. And, he advises you, to “monitor that stream of Twitter conversations” at the event, use Twemes.
Whew! Imagine if you are on a panel, listening to the panelist who’s speaking before you. Would you be madly tracking and responding to what the audience is saying? Would you modify your panel presentation? Would you alert attendees to your willingness to respond to their comments? That might motivate them to text all the more furiously with “final” thoughts. Are you sure? Even an uber-geek can goof up sometimes with this new two-way conversation.
The rippling stream of conversation could turn into rushing tsunami waves. Bad metaphor, I know, as this phenomena is simultaneously multi-directional. (Now some – not all – meeting planners who reading are this are hanging their heads in despair over the inevitable chaos, the lack of control.) Recall the audience mutiny?
Boomer that I am, I maintain that real time interaction via texting is not helpful for all conferences. It depends on the demographics of the audience. For example ….
1. Are they social media tech-savvy (or social media fatigued)?
2. Is your topic related to the use of social media?
3. Does the audience skew young or is it mostly boomers and older?
4. Can you handle real-time feedback? That is, can you ….
• Read an individual’s comment(s) or,
• More intensely still, track a “thread” of comments from attendees
• Respond to their comments or questions
…. all without losing your train of thought?
It’s not just a matter of ability to concentrate, remember and think well on your feet. Multitasking reduces our performance ability, per some studies. Yes, I admit, as a social media-loving, tech-goof over-50, I am a bit defensive. So here’s tips to tweak your Twittering at conferences and elsewhere. If it does improve (a big if) then Twittering will spread. Or audience attendees and others will simply continue their conversations at Pownce or Jaiku. Either way I’ll struggle to catch up.
Yet for the tech-savvy and the non-geeks reading this, Rohit’s book is an idea-packed must-read for burnishing your brand and staying authentic: Personality not included. Then follow-up with Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s excellent, Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.