Twitter is a rapidly growing platform. I enjoy using Twitter both personally (@WilliamsKim) and professionally (@BEMinteractive). A recent Tweet from (@PracticalWisdom) about tweeting in a meeting got me thinking: As more people value Twitter for communication and information sharing, when is it ok to Tweet in a meeting and when should we refrain?
I'll share a personal prejudice and then 5 tips for your consideration. I'm over 50, so my educational era (error?) is one that preceded much of the technology that we enjoy today. I was exposed to classrooms, lectures and presentations when the speaker was due unwavering attention. To talk, shuffle papers, or read something other than handouts/outlines was disrespectful. I'm accustom to something akin to lofty respect for those who stand before you to teach, inspire and guide. Multitasking electronic communication - even electronic note taking - fractures this paradigm. I've experimented with tweeting in a variety of settings and had some useful and some embarrassing (that's another post) results. So, what of tweeting during meetings and other gatherings?
I think there are certain environments that are more appropriate than others for tweeting. Here some suggested guidelines:
1. Consider the setting. If it is a Tweet-Up event, then a certain amount of twitter activity is expected. However, don't assume that everything is up for grabs. There may be moments when someone is presenting or speaking and needs you attention. If you are meeting with your boss, tweeting about the conversation might be a bit much.
2. Ask the Speaker/Leader. If an event has a formal speaker scheduled, ask about their preference regarding tweeting.
3. When in doubt don't tweet. You can always make notes to tweet or blog/tweet about later.
4. Consider your followers. If you are a 3-4 tweet a day person, you can alarm your followers if you start sending 10-20 meeting notes or quote snippets out while attending a 1 hour Tweet-Up.
5. Determine your goal for the event. If you are there to promote or share information "real-time" via Social then your use of Twitter is helpful. However, if you are attending to learn something new, there is some research that seems to indicate that electronic multi-tasking (especially via twitter) may interfere with your ability to hear and retain complex information.