Yes, according to Joseph Jaffe. In episode JJTV #60, Jaffe pledges to personally escort disrespectful tweeters out of any conference he’s attending.
It’s a known fact that I dislike online video, but I was curious to see what Jaffe’s reasoning was. Was it that attendees are too busy on their phone to be fully paying attention? That truly great insights can’t be captured in 140 character sound-bytes, and when an audience of hundreds is parroting the same quotes, it’s questionable if there are any real insights being gleaned?
As perhaps should have been expected, Jaffe is primarily concerned with the impact on the speakers. Either speakers are ‘left out’ of the conversation as tweeters are sharing commentary in real time, or in some cases they’re being expected to follow along with the tweetstream and respond. He also touches on the financial implications: tweeting attendees have paid for the privilege of learning; those following on Twitter have not.
What’s interesting about this issue is how others are impacted. Social media is ‘opt-in’: someone can choose to follow the hashtag to be a part of the conversation, or not. Individuals around me are not whispering or passing notes, they’re simply typing. (Yes, I will admit that I was once told that my typing annoyed another conference attendee: I was taking notes for my blog and she later thanked me when she went back to read them). If someone doesn’t wish to engage in the chatstream, they obviously have the choice not to.
So, I’ve identified reasons Twitter negatively impacts the audience experience, and Jaffe highlights the speaker’s challenges. But are we all so caught up in ‘being connected’, that we feel an obligation to engage even if it results in a poorer experience?
And ultimately, justified or not, is it really even possible to expect that Twitter will be disallowed at conferences, either officially or socially?