Tweeting at conferences Sheila Scarborough taking notes pre-Twitter at BlogHer 2007 (courtesy Elizabeth from Table4Five at Flickr CC)

Me taking notes pre-Twitter, at BlogHer 2007 (courtesy Elizabeth from Table4Five at Flickr CC)

As both a speaker and enthusiastic attendee at lots of conferences, I’m getting tired of the squawking I sometimes hear about people “not paying attention because they’re tweeting.”  Speaker Tom Martin has some good thoughts about it in his post Don’t Tweet Me Man.

Look, I take notes on paper AND tweet. If I can pop up a Facebook post with something great you’ve said, I’ll work that in, too.

If I’m on my smartphone and nothing else during a presentation, I do find that I’m on Twitter less only because it’s so much easier to tweet from a proper keyboard on a netbook or laptop. I’m a fast typist and can keep up with the flow pretty well, but not on a smartphone keyboard.

If I can’t tweet at all (like at the Audience Conference or many TEDs) I’m still head-down and scribbling, but my paper notes become Twitter nuggets and Facebook posts later. Bottom line is, I’m getting it online no matter what.

I’m 49 years old, so please don’t lecture me about how to absorb what a speaker presents. I’ve been at it for a few decades, before presenters got the PowerPoint crutch and ever since summer debate camp in 1970’s high school, where we had to furiously take notes about the upcoming year’s topic, to four years in an honors liberal arts program (ever taken notes in a year-long, info-packed Philosophy class, or the “History of India from 1750?”) to earning my Master’s degree.

I know from note-taking.

The only difference now is that some of my notes are tweets….and speakers, I like broadcasting your wise words to the planet.

As a speaker myself, I’m FINE with it.  As an attendee, that’s what I’m going to do.

You’ll be happy to know that my tech-savvy teacher husband totally disagrees with me. Twenty-plus years of wedded bliss, so I guess that isn’t a deal-breaker. 🙂

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