Thursday, November 13, 2014

Live Tweeting: Friend or Foe?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

I was talking with some veteran PR practioners last week, discussing the use of Twitter for work and our clients. The conversation turned to Twitter and presentations, when one of our group remarked:  “I was giving a presentation recently and I’m used to looking at the audience, but no one was looking up, much less looking at me. They were live Tweeting the entire time.” 

That led to a discussion as to whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, it means that what you’re saying must be valuable to those in the audience and they want to share your advice or thoughts. Very flattering; after all, isn’t that what you hope for when doing a presentation? On the other hand, we were all in agreement that it makes us wonder if the audience is really listening to what you have to say; comprehending it as a whole as opposed to just repeating tiny bites of information. Plus, it makes it much harder to engage with the audience when they never look up.

So is live Tweeting friend or foe? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s our job, as presenters, to find ways to connect with the audience while they’re connected to their phones. So, the next time I’m giving a presentation, I will arrive early to start conversations with attendees and get them engaged with me before I start to talk. I’ll also point out the most pertinent information in my presentation so that maybe, for just a minute, those who are Tweeting will stop and think about what’s being said before going back to Tweeting.  

What’s your take on live Tweeting during presentations?  Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in-between? 

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