I have been reading about a situation at Web 2.0 Expo that has me as an organizer of speakers a bit befuddled. Danah Boyd’s presentation took a turn for the worst and it turned out to be a bad experience for her and for the attendees. For the long story short version you can see a recap of what I am talking about over at Maggie Fox’s blog. She talks about the wisdom of crowds and how people can be rude and completely out of character. I have seen this happen in other areas and the idea that people act differently online than they do in real life is another post for another time. What I am interested in from the mechanical side of things is whether the Twitter stream itself is a bad idea for presentations.
This year at BlogWorld & New Media Expo we had some of our own keynotes with the Twitter stream behind the speaker. You can see some snippets on YouTube of Leo Laporte by Mediafly.
As you can see the Twitter stream was active and going on during the session. Leo did a great job with his discussion, but what would have happened had he been attacked during the presentation by people that did not like what he had to say or how he said it? Leo has been doing this a while and would probably take the heckling with a grain of salt, but that does not seem to be the case at all times with other speakers. I watched as another speaker was lambasted during his presentation at an event just before BlogWorld Expo.
I suppose the important question is, should a Twitter stream be an active part of the presentation?