Instant feedback

April 2, 2009

"Students and tutors ready to embrace the Twitter bug" (26 March)? Certainly lecture audiences are, as I discovered when giving a talk in Florida last week.

As I left the podium, the organiser handed me a piece of paper with a link to the conference's Twitter site written on it, and complimented me on an excellent "Twitter rating". When I went to look, there had been several "tweets" sent in by people in the audience while I was giving the lecture.

In another talk at the conference, the lecturer asked the audience how many of them were tweeting as he spoke. About 20 out of 300 put up their hands.

An interesting fact that emerged from the event was that Twitterers on average are in their thirties and forties. It isn't a teen thing.

In a way, tweeting is similar to taking notes, except that the notes are immediately made available worldwide. But it is more than that. It is really a feedback loop, and I confidently expect to see a time when devices will give lecturers the chance to see this feedback in real time as they lecture.

But why stop there? Priests giving homilies, politicians giving speeches, after-dinner speakers, teachers, actors ... We are not far from a world where the audience tweets about the performance they are watching, and the actors see their responses on a screen placed judiciously in the wings. Bit more energy tonight, please, love ...

David Crystal, Holyhead.

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