Beginning a couple of years ago, I began seeing conference attendees using their laptops and smart phones during sessions. I figured they were just checking e-mail, but many of these folks were out on social sites like Twitter and Facebook posting real-time comments about the session itself. The first time I saw this happen, my initial thought was that it was really rude. But then I began to think about the implications. How can a speaker, moderator or host utilize this information?
This practice of sharing during an event has become commonplace. Many conferences and virtual events now provide instructions on how attendees can provide feedback or ask questions during a session. A common example is asking attendees to submit questions for the speaker using Twitter and a pre-defined hashtag. This does require that the speaker have a moderator who can monitor the real time feed and ask the questions. The moderator can also monitor the feed for comments and help direct the speaker if necessary. For example, if someone posts, “audio stinks-can’t hear this guy,” the moderator can intervene and address the problem right then.
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