terriko: (Default)
I never knew it was possible to feel both so energized and so exhausted from a single day conference. TEDx was amazing, and I've got about a billion ideas firing in my head about teaching, communicating, passion, music, and great ideas. But I can barely look at a light without wincing, so although I feel guilty for missing the after party, I think I'm going to grab a light late dinner then curl up in bed early tonight.

Here's something unusual about the conference to get your brains going while mine sleeps, though. We were asked not only to turn off all our beeping devices during the lectures, but also asked specifically not to tweet about the event until a break happened.

As an attendee, I loved the visual quiet of not having people constantly opening phones around me. It helped me be that much more engaged in the talks. I actually like turning off my phone, and I had just watched Renny Gleeson's talk on antisocial phone tricks, so this rule seemed like a pretty neat idea. (PS - watch that video, it's 3 minutes of cell phone behavioural hilarity.)

However, while I'm willing to give up tweeting during a conference, I also know that tweets from my friends are a large part of the way that I engage with conferences I'm not attending. Knowing this, I guess, there was a designated tweeter who put stuff on the TEDxOttawa twitter stream but... well, go take a look at it. I'm too tired to articulate why, but I look at those tweets and feel like some of the magic, the passion, the enthusiasm just isn't shining through there. And if you look at the tweets using the #TEDxOttawa hashtag now you'll note that they're all like "woo, it was awesome, thanks!" which is nice, but again not particularly engaging to outsiders.

So while I actually liked putting away my cell phone, I'm also bit sad that I couldn't bring a piece of TEDxOttawa to my friends and followers while I was there, and I feel like TEDxOttawa missed out on a lot of potential buzz they could have gotten from excited attendees.

If you were organizing a conference, would you suggest this to attendees? Would you like this policy if it had been imposed upon you as an attendee?

And I'll leave you with one more thought: Ironically, one of the talks was about learning, and the presenter specifically suggested that we'd remember more of TEDxOttawa if we wrote about it. If only we could have tweeted! ;)

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terriko

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