Jay Rosen has some useful tips for people to take into account when preparing for a keynote presentation or Q&A that can help them avoid the kind of vitriolic commentary, mostly caused by abnormally high expectations that weren’t met, which followed Twitter co-founder Evan Williams’ recent appearance at SXSW.
But while Rosen’s advice is great I think the existence of the very tool Williams helped to create – Twitter – along with everything else that’s evolving in the world of social publishing means there needs to be a re-examining of what “backchannel” means when it comes to conferences, not to mention everything else.
Time was that there was indeed a backchannel at conferences. Attendees would log in to a private ICQ chat and trade commentary on what was being presented, with recaps coming later. But now that’s been replaced by live-tweeting or even live-blogging. So instead of that commentary being available to just those in the room it’s now broadcast everywhere.
That means a fundamental change in the way keynotes are prepared for and run not only is happening but happened a while ago, one that we all now need to catch up to. Some basic things need to change in terms of how the person doing the presentation is prepped, how the team that’s supporting them monitors and manages the chatter that happens in real-time, what sort of responses might be necessary in the wake of the event and what sort of metrics need to be pulled. And that’s just what occurs to me off the top of my head.
Whatever the case, there’s a lot more work that needs to go into planning, executing and then putting a bow on these efforts since their impact is not only immediate – and messy – but public. The good news, though, is that as with most things there can be a plan for it that can make it all manageable.