Is Social Media Changing Audience Etiquette?

Audience posting on social media at events

You’ve been to conferences and seminars. You know the scene. The speaker comes on stage and you give him your undivided attention to learn, right? Well, not these days. Now, your head is down as type away your notes on your smartphone or laptop and post them on social media. Is this shift in audience etiquette acceptable? Or are we becoming ruder while we adapt to new technology?

From the audience side, most of us are posting the main points on social media that we find important. Rather than just jotting our notes, they’re typed, posted, shared. And, if you’re lucky, they may even earn a comment or start a conversation. If you miss something, someone else is sure to have caught it and posted it for you to review. Besides your own notes, you can access everyone’s notes later for referral.

Event Audience

I’ve been guilty of this – both posting notes during a conference and reading others’ social media posts as they attend. While I do think it’s a bit rude that everyone’s head is down, part of me likes that we can capture our thoughts in real-time and generate new ideas. Plus, it’s another way of networking and gaining new contacts. Having said that, what I appreciate (and try to do) is to comment on what I’m hearing. I don’t only type exactly what the speaker says. I bring my viewpoint or read someone else’s viewpoint. Points that I want to remember word for word still get written on paper.

Summary on Social Media at Events

Event Speaker

This is a growing trend that will continue to grow and become acceptable. The conferences even give specific hashtags to post with your comments on social media. For those of you that are the attendees, please give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear whether you are guilty like me or if you still give all your attention to the speaker.

Now, I’ve never spoken at a conference, so I don’t know how the speakers feel about this. For those of you that are regular conference speakers, please share your thoughts. Is it distracting? Is it frustrating? Did you notice the shift and how did you deal with it? What do you think of all the thoughts that are captured and posted? Do you ever go back to read what everyone posted? Is the feedback helpful? Please let us know. A lot of us would love to get your viewpoint. Thanks!

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