Twitter at conferences

I was at a municipality of Toronto web20 conference a few months back that opened my eyes to the potential of twitter at conferences and in work settings.    On the face of it the Toronto conference was traditional with a podium, lecture hall seating,  ppt decks and everyone kept their shoes on (see hollyhock un-conference).  But behind it all was this ongoing stream of  commentary on a twitter channel.    

Twitter was integrated into the conference proceedings.   Periodically, the moderators would ask for q’s posted thru twitter,  opening up a whole new way for individuals to participate who arent necessarily comfortable with posing questions in front of large audiences.   This was interesting enough and hats off to David Tallan and co but what really intrigued me was this vital back channel of  insights, questions commentary, ‘free associations’ and other “right now” observations happening in real time.

This was a revelation since I think twitter is allowing all of us to tap into an exchange that in the old world might have occured as part of hallway conversations after a conference session or into an audience member’s internal dialogue that might never get expressed.   Twitter enables a kind of collective stream of consciousness that  is creative, inclusive and makes the audience a key participant,  if not a second presenter, in a conference setting. 

So now i am tweeting everywhere,  experimenting with using twitter to comment on meetings and even tweeting to friends  in bars even when theyre sitting beside me.  I plan on writing a second blog entitled Twitter: a new social dynamic or just plain rude.

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