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Why Live Event Tweeting is the Spawn of the Devil

There are currently two significant social media/tech events happening in the UK: Like Minds and LiveTech. Several of the people I’m friends with or follow closely are in attendance at one or other, some speaking and some listening. But they’re all tweeting from them using the #LikeMinds and #LiveTech hashtags. Boy are they tweeting from them! It’s making my Twitter stream as impenetrable as a Leopard 2A6 Battle Tank (Google it).

I know I’m being a miserable sod, but does anyone actually follow these events on Twitter? It’s not like a Twitter chat where you need a hashtag in order to help follow a conversation that lasts maybe an hour. It’s just a constant flow of largely irrelevant and unfiltered junk that has no context and is of no benefit to man nor beast. Especially when there may be several people tweeting the same thing from the same event at the same time. As Julie Howell succinctly put it to me on Twitter: “It fills up your timeline with odious crap”.


Now I can see the benefit (I guess) if you’re not attending but want to. But even then, does anyone sit at their computer watching the hashtag for a day or three? Of course they don’t – chances are, if they wanted to attend but couldn’t it’s because they were too busy and are not going to have the time to wade through mountains of hashtagged rubbish to pick out the nuggets at a later date. Which renders it largely pointless. The odd, really insightful and interesting tweet I think most people welcome, me included. But how many of these type of tweets are truly insightful and interesting? Olly Gosling said to me on Twitter: “When it’s interesting and relevant, I quite like it. But if it’s ‘social is about people #sm101’ kind of crap, then that grates…”

The fact is that, as a rule, the only people genuinely interested in what you have to tweet from a live event are the people in the room. Who are with you, listening to the same stuff. And so should be taking in what people are saying rather than watching it on their iPhone or furiously typing every sentence onto their iPad.

More to the point, if you pay to attend an event, I’d assume you’re interested in what the speakers have to say. So how about paying those speaking the courtesy of your attention and giving them some eye contact? There’s nothing worse when speaking at an event to look out at a room full of people playing with their mobiles. I know, I’ve done it. They may well have been hanging on my every word and tweeting everything I said, but I felt completely disengaged from them.

Tweetdeck has just introduced the ability to filter out hashtags, and I really hope Hootsuite follows suit very soon. It’s likely to be a very well-used function, in my opinion. So how about we all think twice when we next sit down at a conference? Maybe put the tech down while people are speaking? And if you do feel the need to live event tweet, please, please know your audience and be picky. By all means discuss interesting points using Twitter, but please, there’s absolutely no need to tweet every single word that is said.

What are your feelings about live event tweeting?

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