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Poll: Should There Be "Gadget Free" Sessions at BlogWorld?


After a member of the  BlogWorld Facebook page posted a seemingly innocent comment about having a session at BlogWorld discussing multi-tasking during a gadget free session, the little hamster in my head began spinning her wheel.

A session at BlogWorld where no one’s allowed to use cell phones, laptops or netbooks? Would the BlogWorld community go for it? What if we offered speakers the option of having a gadget free zone, how would that go over?

I took it to the BlogWorld community and received a surprising result: 30 comments so far, most in support of a gadget free zone.

Last week I wrote a post for my own blog called “(Mis)Communication in the Social Media Age” which discussed how we’re so busy being connected that we’re moving from the Information Age into the Too Much Information Age. I wonder, are we so busy connecting with the online world that we’re disconnecting from what’s happening in real life?  Sometimes I miss the good old days when ignorance was bliss.

The comments on our Facebook discussion made me realize I’m not alone in my thinking.

The initial discussion has led to an internal BlogWorld discussion. Should we have gadget free session?

Put the paper bag down and stop hyperventilating. We’re not talking about making the entire conference gadget free, after all, we also revel in our geekery. But wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment to have a few sessions at BlogWorld where we had to check our electronics at the door, focus our entire attention on the real world conversation, and not break our focus to Tweet quotes or check our email?

We’d like for you to take a poll. Tell us your thoughts about gadget free sessions and if they belong at BlogWorld.

Could you disconnect for an hour? Would you go through withdrawal? As a speaker, would you prefer an online session? Take our poll and let us know what you think!

Image: Brandon Eley

Deb Ng is Conference Director for BlogWorld and Founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng,


  • JD Carr

    I know some may disagree with me on this but I’d say absolutely not. This is a tech conference and as such, tech (i.e. gadgets) should be welcomed at all times IMO.

  • Scott Stratten

    I’ve thought about this before, but it really comes down to a few things:

    1. We should make the content so good, people feel they have to tell others right away.

    2. We should make the content so good, people don’t want to miss any of it.

    It’s the seminar perfect storm really. People aren’t 8 years old, and don’t need to be told what to do IF it doesn’t distract others.

  • Aaron Hockley

    What Scott said.

    If people are furiously taking notes or tweeting about how much they love the session, well, isn’t that good? Would you also ban folks from taking notes on paper?

    And if folks are sitting there watching a video, doing email, or randomly surfing the web, wouldn’t you rather have the audience doing that rather than sitting there pissed that the speaker apparently can’t hold their interest?

  • Salesgrok

    A gadget-free zone at Blog World seems antithetical. Why limit people from sharing knowledge with their networks? Hasn’t Social Media been a boon to the blogosphere? Then again, as a presenter, it is difficult to drive interaction when the majority of your audiences heads are buried in their devices. Perhaps attendees should affirm “respectful usage” during the registration process. Use the carrot, not the stick!

    I’d be more interested in gadget-free meetings or gadget-free Holidays – the picture above cracks me up – heads down, missing valuable contacts and conversations!!

  • Rick Calvert

    You know what’s weird? the response here in the blog comments is completely different to the feedback on the facebook page.

    Interesting. What it means I haven’t a clue but interesting 8)

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