Monday, 19 October 2009

Social media and presentations - the speaker backchannel

Earlier this year I attended an event at which one speaker used Twitter to gather audience questions and then answer key themes at the end. He did not allow this to interrupt the presentation but it was made clear that questions would not be a 'hands up' affair. More and more speakers are now aware of and monitoring their presentation 'backchannel' (a new marketing buzz word for the bingo card).

Yesterday, I read an interesting article from Jeremiah Owyang outlining how speakers should integrate social into their presentation. Whilst I don’t agree with all of Jeremiah’s points (I will elaborate), I think speakers need to be aware that the penetration of social apps on mobile devices is making real-time commentary increasingly relevant.

What is the presentation backchannel?

The backchannel is the discussion about you or your presentation that takes places in other media, whether that is online or offline. The most direct channel where this is happening is on social networks like Twitter.

This backchannel is real-time. Social media has expanded event dissection from the general hubbub of physical event networking spaces into online communities.

I have direct experience of this. At Internet World, when I was not on the exhibition stand or attending seminars, I tweeted live from the event. I talked about the organisation of the event as well as the content of presentations. Included was constructive criticism of issues that made the event experience less than ideal. So, is this backchannel part of the future of presenting or is it a passing obsession of the attention deficit nation?

To read more on my thoughts about the relevance of the speaker backchannel and what you can do, please join in the debate on my blog on the Econsultancy website.

I would be interested to read your comments.

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