Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Do Conference Tweets Say More About You than the Speaker?

There are those who do... and those who Tweet...

I was at QCon in London last Friday to be on a panel session. It was fascinating to see what goes on at conferences now, having not been to one for years. Good to see Tweets in context whilst actually being at the event, rather than from afar.

Picture by NCVO

Like any such event, the talks (I managed to get to four) varied in terms of interest, presentation and engagement, depending on what you want to learn about, and the experience and skill of the presenter. What surprised me were a couple of Tweets about a talk that I attended on the data structures behind LinkedIn.

The early parts of the talk were interesting, and helped me to understand a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes when various LinkedIn events take place, such as making a new connection. After a while, it did lose its way slightly, and I found it harder to follow, probably due to a lack of understanding on my part of the finer points, and perhaps a rather flat presentation style on the part of the speaker. Frustratingly, he also hinted at some new excitement within the architecture, but didn't cover it in the talk.

Anyway, that's my opinion. Someone else's opinion expressed on Twitter was more along the lines of "hey, we've got this great new storage architecture, but I'm going to talk about Oracle instead" and another described the talk as a "snooze fest" and expressed relief that it did at least finish early.

I get the impression they didn't like it. They could have walked out (perhaps they were some of those who did in fact leave, as happened in most of the talks I attended, as people made an early decision to swap rooms) rather than stay. True, it wasn't the greatest talk but then it wasn't awful either, and for all I know, the presenter was doing it to get out of his comfort zone (as I did with the panel session) and he was at least prepared to try to share some of his knowledge. Yes, I know that people paid good money to be there and have expectations, but something else occurs to me:

If you're recruiting, who are you going to choose when you do your social media background checks - someone who's prepared to do something (the speaker) or someone who's prepared to Tweet about how bad it all is?

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