I’m not being rude, I’m tweeting.


I recently attended a business event that featured a panel of prominent business leaders sharing their thoughts and advice on how to do business in this unstable economy.  Going in, I knew the information would be “share worthy” so I wanted to tweet the juicy nuggets of information to my followers.  Call me old school, but I had the toughest time tweeting from the event because of an overriding guilt that I was being rude to not only the speakers, but to my fellow table guests.  I actually felt compelled to tell everyone at the table that I was tweeting valuable information out to my followers, not checking emails or surfing the net.

Today, during presentations or events, you’ll notice a large proportion of the people present – including those on the stage – could be seen fiddling with their phones. People are tweeting their thoughts, repeating quotes from the presenters, following other attendees and generally broadcasting ‘what was going on’ to the rest of the world.  Obviously, this can be considered positive, especially for event organizers. Events are now more interactive than ever before, and spill over onto the internet rather than just staying within the room.

However, call me Ms. Manners but I think there is a time and place for everything.  The following are just a few general guidelines that I’ve created and started to follow:

  1. Know the audience of the event: Two events I’ve attended recently had two completely different audiences.  The event mentioned above was  attended predominantly by “mature” C-level business executives.  Here, I felt compelled to tell my ‘table-mates’ that I planned on tweeting noteworthy information to my followers.  Because, like me, the audience was a little more “Old School” and I would hate for them to think I was rude and had better things to do on my phone than to listen to an A-list panel of business executives.   The following week, I attended an event in San Francisco which was attended by younger entrepreneurs that conduct day-to-day business via social media channels.  During the entire presentation, everyone had their head down to their phones and iPads sharing information via their favorite platform.  Here, if you didn’t have your phone or tablet out, you were the odd one.
  2. Remain actively engaged: If you decide to tweet, be sure to look up from your phone and be an active listener to the speaker and a networker at your table.  All too often, technology takes away from human interaction.  If you attend an event, don’t forget to network and actually talk to people.  Don’t use your “online social activities” as an excuse to be anti-social in person.
  3. 3.       There is a time and a place to live tweet: My general rule of thumb is to avoid tweeting during more personal or “human-oriented” events – those times when people themselves, and not the information they share, take center stage. Smaller get-togethers (even if they’re educational), artistic performances and networking-focused events are good examples.

Agree or disagree?  Is it just me and the manners my parents so deeply ingrained in me or is it now acceptable to have your nose to the phone tweeting at an event?  Do you have “social media etiquette” that you like to follow?

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