Before There Was Twitter…
November 30, 2009 8 Comments
…we had blogs, email or word of mouth. None of these things have gone away it’s just that Twitter has taken the forefront when it comes to expressing our feelings about how presenters. After reading Tom Whitby’s blog post about the effect Twitter has on presentations I was struck by the concern he had over Twittering during presentations. I’m not condoning people being rude but some presenters really shouldn’t present. Just because you may be an expert in your knowledge about ___ does not mean you are a good speaker. But more to the point, those of us who have attended conferences have always had a way to express their feelings about a presenter – word of mouth. Walk down the crowded hallway, stand in the lunch line or attend lobby-con after a particularly bad (or good) speaker and you know what I mean. Then in the last 10-15 years we added things like web-based email and more recently blogs.
Now grant it not everyone hears what say or reads what you have to written but the same goes for Twitter – not everyone is reading your Tweets. I have been on the giving and receiving end of Twitter during presentations. I presented with 2 co-presenters and it was great when you weren’t speaking to read what was being said about our presentation while it was still going on. I’ve Tweeted while others have presented more as a way to take notes for myself (as I find live blogging a bit hard but twittering comes naturally to me). I’ve read other people’s Tweets from conferences that are states away and I’ve found them helpful.
Okay, I must know all the kind, helpful people in the world and none of the nasty ones. I’m sure that is true. But I think we are all being a bit naive if we think our presentations are perfect and no one is out there saying anything negative about us (they are you just aren’t hearing it). Maybe we need to hear it? Should they be so mean spirited? No. Can we learn from it? Well, maybe we can. Depending on the comments being made you might be able to adjust your style. Depending on the comments being made you may just have to consider the source and ignore it (just as you would if you walked down a crowded hall at a conference and overheard a nasty comment). Maybe it’s a perfect opportunity to contact that person who tweeted and see just what they would have done differently. You never know, it might actually turn into a productive conversation. Maybe having to worry just a little about what is being said on Twitter isn’t such a bad thing – maybe it will raise the bar.