How has Tweeting changed the face of conferences?

Marco Bertozzi:29.03.10

I read today a post by Mel Carson that he tweeted out there about someone at a conference commenting on the clothing ‘suits’ and words they used at the conference ‘actionable’. He seemed quite upset that he had been described as a suit, you can see his defence at here and the fact a member of the audience had questioned certain words used.

That got me thinking about how the conference has changed, the old days you turned up perhaps a little hungover and under prepared, or absolutely word perfect, either way you did not really know how you were performing. The advent of tweeting at conferences and the fact presenters are actually reading them has meant you need to think very carefully about whether or not you want to tweet what’s on the tip of your tongue. The person Mel talks about has obviously caught the wrath of the conference speaker/attendee but will that always be the case? What are the rules?

It is easy to be bothered by peoples comments but at the same time you have put yourself in that situation and therefore should you not be prepared to take some criticism? I think yes, as a rule, thats not to say it is right that people hide behind electronic communication to make their points but equally if everytime someone is tackled up for their comments you will kill what has been the most interesting part of most conferences so I suggest caution. Although this was not the source of this post it did also get me thinking about the quality of ones presentations at conferences. Basically if you don’t want to get negative comments then prepare well and make the content interesting. It amazes me the amount of presentations that are re drafts, they are cut, chopped and diced to fit the subject of the day and often presented with no prep. In this age of live digital critiquing I think we all need to be prepared to take some grief if we have not put enough effort in.

In reality you will never please everyone, one man’s ‘suit’ is another man’s ‘professional’, who cares if you wear a suit? I think that the rule is if you don’t like what you read or hear, dont get up on stage.