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Joitske hulsebosch

Hi beth, I have the same experience with partial participation. You get a sphere impression, but don't get much out of it. That's why I don't like twitter streams from events where I'm not participating. I wonder though whether it makes sense to real multi-taskers?


What I wonder is how we can improve the quality of the real-time information so it does make sense? 


reposting Joitske excellent comments here so I don't loose it in my email box

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joitske Hulsebosch

hi, yes, that's puzzling me too. We tried to do a twitter report by having people answer the question: what idea or insight or question do you take away from your workshop session? For the twitterers this was weird, they are used to 'free twittering'. For the non-twitterers it took a lot of persuasion to take them to the twitter table that we set up (some said: yes, I can answer that question, but NO, I don't want to twitter :). I have the impression it doesn't make a lot of sense to them.

If you'd do that AND have someone pull out the interesting things, maybe that could work?

cheers, Joitske

ps did you hear we have a we are media session here with a group of nonprofit consultants in Amsterdam? Petra Kroon is one of the organisers and she invited me!

Robin Mohr

I think the benefit of real time web tools is not for people who need to be at two conferences at once, but to enrich the experience for people who couldn't get to even one conference or meeting.

For my nonprofit, the costs of travel (in dollars and in environmental impact) are becoming more of an obstacle for our members, who have traditionally participated in a rich series of in-person meetings across the state of California.

The first step away from needing to be in the same room was the conference call, but people complained that 1)it lacked the ability to make sure people were looking at the same documents, 2)it is hard to interact with more than a handful of people on the phone, and 3) there wasn't enough personal connection. They couldn't see each other's faces, read their body language, interact in the margins (you can't whisper your funny side comment to the person sitting next to you on a conference call) or informally network with people before and after the working sessions (if you're not in the same room, you don't casually run into people you wanted to talk to).

Now the webinar format is conquering the problem of getting everyone the same presentation slides or documents to look at. But it's still largely one way communication, and still difficult for more than a few people to have any interaction.

I think that the backchannel and real time web tools will fill those gaps. For example, quickly IMing your snarky comments to a friend or tweeting something you think is valuable to the group but not worth interrupting the speaker for. The more of the personal interaction we can create for people who are not physically in the same room, the more benefit they will get out of alternative/electronic meeting formats.

The adoption curve will take time but the impetus is coming from several directions. As people get more used to the tools, they will be better able to use them, and as the technology improves, based on actual usage, the tools will become inherently more useful. As more people prefer not to or can not travel, they will feel like they have to accept alternative meeting formats, and as the tools improve, electronic meetings will get more like in-person meetings and that will make people like them more.

Martin Kelley

For me, the eye-opening moment was planning a conference with Robin and one other person. The three of us knew each other pretty well and had all met one one-on-one but had never all three been in the same room together. A month to go we scheduled a conference call.

I was on Skype on the East Coast calling Robin on her Bay Area land line and our co-leader Wess on his cellphone in Los Angeles. But the amazing part is when we opened up a Google Doc we shared and started cutting and pasting agenda items we were talking about. Someone made a reference to a video, found it on Youtube and sent it to the other two by Twitter. We also had a secondary wiki going and some backchannel IM (if there were any snarky comments they must have been between Wess and Robin!).

This is qualitatively different from the two-places-at-once scenario because we were using real-time web tools to be *more* present with one another. Our attention was more focused on the work at hand.

I'm more skeptical about the live tweeting phenomenon. There's so much useless noise. Last week a nonprofit I follow used it for a press conference and the flood of tweets was useless trivia. So what that the politician you invited actually showed up in the room? That he actually walked to the podium? That he actually started talking? That he ticked through your talking points? These are all things we knew would happen when you announced the press conference. What would have been useful were links to background issues, a five-things-you-do list, and a five minute wrap-up video released within an hour of the event's end. They could have done real time buzz: if they had posted an update every half hour w/one selected highlight and a link to a live link I probably would have checked it out. The difference is that I would have chosen to have my workday interrupted by extra posts. In the online economy, attention is the currency and any unusual activity feels like a kind of mugging.

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