Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Bad Behavior or Wake Up Call?

Read on various blogs that attendees at a conference decided they didn't need to limit their comments about a keynote interview to their twitter and text messages, but instead extended their outrage and frustration at the program not being what they wanted it to be by collectively deciding to talk over the interviewer. They didn't walk out -- instead reacted and distrupted the program.

The speaker, the Gen Y founder of Facebook, apparently known to not be the best public speaker but with deep technical knowledge and creativity; and the interviewer, a journalist who didn't make it interesting.

Comments are definitely in 2 distinct camps. So which one is it?

1. If it's a conference with bloggers, twitterers and social media techy types then has to include audience engagement, and they should have known that. In the future, needs to be more consideration of the "demands" of engagement by those accustomed to it.

2. There comes a time when bloggers, twitterers and social media techy types need to step away from their devices and return to a more mannered approach -- even if personal boredom or desire for something else compels otherwise. The world might need a little less mean engagement and technology should not enable bad behavior.

I already routinely text message during meetings to others in the meeting; and comment (by text) impressions of what hearing to other people while it's happening. Engagement can happen without directly engaging the presenter (especially in large audiences). But what happens when the person the audience wants to engage is the presenter - and gets that now or never feeling? Are sitting still or walking out the only choices?

What do you think ... is it bad behavior or a wake-up call? What if an audience "demanded" more direct engagement - are you ready for that? What would you do if your audience surprised your presenters in this manner?

Picture from Brian Solis site - about the interview

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cindy -- I'm surprised no one has commented yet... I'm with the "Wake Up Call" group. But not because of some tech reason or generational reason.

It seems to me that whenever we ignore the fundamental rule of communication ("Know Your Audience") we're flirting with failure. And that's what happened here.

Tech audience. Tech guru on stage. Did they invite comments to be texted to the stage? Questions via a live link to the Web?

The challenge was to provide a way for a large audience to hear from a known expert. We've all faced this challenge.

If we don't wake up, get back to the basics (Who's the speaker? Who's in the audience? What do we most want to convey? What do we want them to leave the room with with this is over? etc.)... then we're resorting to "Isn't it cool we got the Facebook guy!" and leaving it at that. We do so at our own peril, as these organizers found out.