Twitter at Conferences: Beyond Q&A

Twitter is increasingly used as a way of engaging the audience beyond the usual moderated Q&A session. Comments and questions are projected onscreen during a panel discussion.

Here’s an example from the Silicon Valley Brand Forum where the event ended with a panel discussion. Comments and questions from the auditorium as well as people following along on Twitter were projected on a large screen behind the panel members. The moderator switched between asking for questions from the room to reading out comments and questions which came in over Twitter from who knows where.

They used an application called Twubs to aggregate all the tweets about the event with the hashtag #svbf and projected these onstage behind the panel. I felt it added to the interactive nature of the event and allowed the audience to see what topics were on everyone’s mind. it added a new dimension beyond the usual moderated Q&A.

SVBF Tweets

Here’s how it looked from the front row where I was sitting:

Jeanette Gibson, Cisco
Joel Postman, Socialized
Jaap Tuinman, Electronic Arts
Garnor Morantes, eBay

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Did you feel that this was very distracting? It seems like driving and talking on the phone at the same time.

Social Media guru Jeremiah Owyang writes on the use of Twitter as a backchannel during conferences. An extensive set of comments from readers discusses the pro’s and con’s of this form of audience interaction.

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