Last week at #SoMeT, I got to meet and hear Joe Sorge AKA @AJBomers on Twitter. First, if you ever get to hear the guy speak, do so.... he's friggin fantastic.
Second, if you ever get to hear the story of how @AJBomers went from a burger joint in Milwaukee to a social media darling that gets interviewed by the likes of the Wall St. Journal, listen... because what you'll hear is that it's one part hard work, one part dumb luck and one part being open to opportunities and then jumping on them hard.
Third, if you ever get the chance to sit and listen to Joe talk about the burger business, I actually snuck out with him to a local Five Guys to grab a burger... do it. His passion for what he does is awesome and contagious.
So enough about Joe and more about what he did at #SoMeT that I thought was great.
At the end of his formal talk, he made everyone close their laptops, put down their phones, shut down the iPads, and he had them turn off the Twitterfall... for five minutes. Then he asked the audience to write down the big questions they had... the ones they came to #SoMeT with hopes of getting answered.
After a number of folks found pens (me included) we set about to finish his task. The funny thing though was watching folks try not to tweet... I'm pretty sure I actually saw foam forming on the sides of one person's mouth... though to be fair, it could have been the result of the previous night's Hooch Party... but I digress. After the five minute hiatus, we did a forum style discussion/answer session and some truly great discussions ensued. And yes.... more than a few tweets returned to the #SoMeT stream ;-)
This entire experiment caused some interesting post talk discussions around the whole idea of tweeting during a conference. Many in the crowd polled the speakers to see if they are bothered by the practice. Personally it doesn't much bother me... I mean after all, it's basically free "advertising" for me. Maybe someone sees a tweet or three and thinks, this guy sounds smart or the audience must be digging his preso because they're tweeting the heck out of it (if the person is following the hashtag). It's great for the conference and if it helps the conference grow, and maybe my preso is a part of that, I might get asked back to speak or referred to other companies/converences that are looking for professional social media or digital speakers to round out their conference agenda.
But on the flip side, I do find that I don't tweet nearly as much as I used to because, well frankly, I find it hard to place my attention on two competiting entities, my laptop and the speaker. I often miss important things while tweeting other important things. So for me, I tend to shy away from the practice unless a speaker really nails an important point that I'd like to share with my followers because I think they will find value in the point.
And therein lies the crux of the question. You're supposedly at a conference to learn from a speaker, so should you really be tweeting the entire time? And why RT tweets? You see a lot of that but I don't recall a lot of discussion around that side of the topic. Lastly, if you're a speaker... does it bother you to be on stage and looking out at the tops of folks heads as they busily type away?
I don't have any firm opinions on any of these and I gave you my two cents from a speaker's perspective, but I'd REALLY like to hear y'alls thoughts. Care to share?
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