I was interested to spot this post from Clare Fletcher. Entitled, "Anti social media" it was about how much Fletcher had enjoyed last week's Portable/Refinery 29 presentation in Sydney - save for my extreme rudeness in Tweeting during the Q&A with the New York fashion site's co-founder Philippe von Borries and creative director Piera Gelardi. The Q&A that I myself was conducting. Now it's true, I do like a chat. I was constantly busted at school for talking, passing notes and being generally disruptive. I so abused the message system of John Fairfax's antediluvian computer network back in the 1980s that the message function was removed from my profile. Not once, but twice - after I discovered a way to send messages without it the first time. I've had a Mac and a fax machine for 21 years. A BlackBerry for five. A blog for four. And I have been on Twitter for three. During RAFW last year some took issue with my real-time Twitter coverage of the event, indignant that they were robbed of longform, more considered - and of course, 100% gratis - analysis. And yes I did Tweet during last week's Refinery 29 presentation. A fact that was apparently not lost on Fletcher, who writes:
"...it's a little off topic but the thing I was most struck by at the Refinery29 talk was the behaviour of the MC..... while she was interviewing Philip and Piera from Refinery29, she was tweeting.
I'm talking about breaking eye contact during an interview to tap away on a Blackberry. Now, I understand that her social media coverage would have given the event more attention that it might have recieved otherwise. I realise that her Twitter followers would have wanted to know her thoughts on the event as it unfolded. She was doing her job. But it just seemed quite rude. What is the etiquette here? Am I being old fashioned?"
I would just like to clarify a few points here.
The only Tweets dispatched during the presentation by yours truly covered a few key points made by von Borries and Gelardi during their addresses, which took approximately 50 minutes. While I was seated in the audience. As did other attendees.
I did not, however, Tweet during the Q&A itself. I was referring to a list of prepared questions on my BlackBerry.
At the very end, as we were wrapping up, I checked to see if there had been any responses to the earlier Tweets. I thought von Borries and Gelardi might find this feedback interesting. And retweeted several times was the following point made by von Borries:
"You can't do things the old way anymore".
Some people use a notebook on the public speaking podium. Others, cue cards. It's not considered rude if they break eye contact to refer to their notes and questions, so what's the big deal with a handheld?
Fletcher, FYI, is the assistant editor of The Walkley Magazine, which is published by the Walkley Foundation, a non profit dedicated to the promotion of excellence in Australian journalism and which administers the industry's leading annual awards, the Walkleys.