I’m sitting in the Rose Hall at the Personal Democracy Fourm #PDF2008 right now at Lincoln Center and they’ve placed power ports throughout the main auditorium. They’ve also installed an almost spotless high speed WiFi Network.
Why? Almost every attendee at this conference is a blogger, reporter, or podcaster?
While the presence of power and WiFi makes life easier for bloggers, it also puts a lot more pressure on the speakers. Having a laptop in front of you while a boring speaker is on stage is a powerful distraction.
For example, Jonathan Zittrain just left the stage. He gave an amazing lecture based on his upcoming book “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It.” When Zittrain was on stage, the quiet background noise of fingers typing disappeared.
But what happens when there’s a bad speaker on stage? Just take a look around at the laptop screens. Blogging and word processing windows get minimized and people start checking their Facebook pages and email.
Twitter has also been fully integrated into the modern expo or conference. A few years ago, only hardcore techies were using Twitter at a conferences. But now you can Tweet using a variety or clients on your mobile phone or laptop. Conference organizers know this and several conferences like PDF have used Twitter scanning services like Sumerize.com and Twemes.com to take questions from remote attendees and even people sitting in the audience.
Just add a # symbol to your Twitter Tweet and Twemes will automatically add it to a separate page for an event. Here’s the Twemes page for #pdf2008 if you want to check it out: http://twemes.com/pdf2008