All of your comments will be helpful to conference organisers, but only a few actually addressed the original question, Why can't it wait until the end of the presentation? Who truly benefits from tweeting 'live' rather than when the speaker has finished?
- Most of us have to work, look after a family, etc, and we read tweets later in the day. How many people sit glued to their computer reading hashtag tweets 'live'? (If you do - Get A Life!) There is no need to tweet during the lecture. Doing it later is fine for your readers, and it is more courteous to the speaker. [Judy's response: Like you, I have to read the tweets later. That's actually an advantage, because hashtag tweets make more of an impression on me when I read them in a batch.]
- Helen said, 'I tweet because I am usually too busy to tweet after the presentation' - but Helen always writes a descriptive blog post afterwards, which contradicts her claim that she needs to tweet live.
- Every time I've given a talk at which people were using phones or computers, one of those people has put their hand up during Question Time and asked a question that I'd answered in my talk (while they weren't listening). It is demoralising and infuriating. [Judy's response: I totally agree. This has happened to me too.]
- We recently paid for an employee to attend a conference. We decided never to waste the company's money that way again, because we discovered that he had been tweeting instead of paying attention.
- I like the NGS social media policy except I would prefer to exclude the word 'summarise' as I think that gives a bit too much freedom.
- The social media policy should be part of registration and include 'no photographing of people's overheads' and the fact that attendance at the conference may mean your photograph could be taken and uploaded to the web as part of a blog or used in publicity.
- I use a phone because I think that is less distracting than using a computer. I also think that anyone who chooses to tweet etc should sit over to one side so less of a distraction. [Judy's response: As a speaker, I say 'Not in the front row, please!']
- Using a phone while the presenter is talking is just plain RUDE. If this is what Twitter is about, count me out! Good manners will never go out of fashion.
- I would prefer to be told to have my phone on silent and to be reminded that texting or tweeting during the conference is VERY bad manners.
- Not many people can multitask well enough to concentrate on the speaker and look at a phone at the same time.
- As a speaker, I hate it when the audience uses phones or computers. Am I boring them? Are their emails more interesting than my topic? They are not looking at my slides, so why did I bother?
What do you think? This is your chance to help shape the policies of future genealogy conferences. If you do not want to comment publicly, select 'Anonymous' or email me privately at the address in the sidebar. But as I said... the comments above do not necessarily reflect my own personal point of view, so please don't shoot the messenger!