Using social network tools in conferences - backchannels
danah boyd just tweeted a link to a blog post in which she rants in a thoughtful (and funny) way about changing patterns of interacting at conferences. The psot is well worth a read.
Her rant was sparked by essentially being told off for using online tools during a talk. her argument is that these tools help her understand better - by being able to look things up, ask questions to Twitter and even translate. And yes sometimes they contribute to not paying attention. But so do doodling, and some times even asking questions.
She sees a cultural divide between those of us who use tools this way and those who dont. She seems to be pointing to these differences being an age thing but I really dont think they are.
the use of things like Twitter at conferences does seem to engender a weird sort of response in people. A couple of months ago a colleague posted a link to a really bad piece of research about the use of Twitter at conferences. the research was bad but the interesting thing was the quite vehement response of his friends. Most seemed incredibly put out at the concept of tweeting at conferences, describing it as being "rude" and as "changing the dynamic." I was dumbfounded. A few of us tried to push back in comments about the value of conference twittering but to no avail.