A rant against live-tweeting talks, here.
I don’t tweet at all, so I don’t live-tweet. In particular, I don’t feel like I’d provide much of value to anyone by live-tweeting talks, or that I’d get a lot of value out of following others’ live tweets.* And while it doesn’t bother me much as a speaker–I just ignore people who are doing it, much as I ignore undergrads who text during class–I can understand how it would bug some people.
I do agree with the linked post that those who do it get less out of the talk. In particular, I try to make my talks as dense and fast-paced as possible without risking losing the audience. That is, I try to design my talks so that you have to pay close attention, and so that your close attention is rewarded. You’ll hopefully feel like you really got a lot out of the time you spent listening to me. I question whether you’ll be able to fully follow a talk, especially the sort of talk I try to give, if you’re live-tweeting. Studies show that even people who think they’re good at “multi-tasking” and have practiced it a lot actually aren’t good at it, by any measure.
So live-tweeting doesn’t really bother or offend me personally, though I can see why it would offend others. I think the people who do it are mostly hurting themselves, if only a little, and not for much benefit that I can see. But I’m an old guy, so I suspect some of our regular commenters are totally going to disagree with me on this.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, I certainly don’t think that the only people who ever pay less-than-full attention to a talk are the people who are live-tweeting. Far from it. And as a speaker, I personally am no more bothered by live-tweeters than I am by people who aren’t paying full attention for some other reason.
UPDATE #2: Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m not big on the way this post is being summarized on Twitter. The post isn’t really about whether “talks should be ‘tweetable’”, it’s about the benefits and costs of live-tweeting them. Anything is ‘tweetable’. But in truth, this probably says more about me than it does about Twitter or folks who use it. I tend to distrust other people’s short summaries of anything, whether tweeted or not. And just for the record, let me say that commenters here, and Joan Strassman in her own post, have articulated some good reasons why one might live-tweet (or tweet right after a talk), or follow the live-tweets of others. So while I personally still don’t see much value in live-tweeting, I can understand why others do. As with many things in life, it’s a question of doing what works for you.
*To be clear, I do see value in many other uses of Twitter.