Bringing Twitter into live events, and in classes

Fred Wilson of Union SquareVentures and the A VC blog writesabout bringing Twitter into live events, especially large discussionsessions. He writes,

So here are my top three takeaways from theexperience:

1) Twitter adds a lot of value to a live event if you have enoughpeople at the event who are comfortable live blogging it. In our case,three or four active participants was enough. Their job, so to speak,is to find the juiciest comments and throw them up on the board.

2) It also provides a way for less agressive people in the group toshare their thoughts with the rest of the group even when they can’tget a word in edgewise.

3) It provides an ability for others who are not at the event to bothfollow the event live but also contribute to the event in real time.

When we do this next time, I am going to make sure we do a few thingsdifferently. First, I think there should be at least two large screensso that nobody has their back to the Twitter stream. Also, I think weshould have tried to loop the conversation happening outside of theroom back into the room. Maybe have one person whose job it is to pullthe most interesting tweets coming from outside the room and feed theminto the conversation.

If you are doing an event, whether its a small invitation only eventlike ours, or a larger public event like a conference, I highlyrecommend you include a live Twitter stream as part of theconversation. It’s a big win for everyone.

How could this be extended to the classroom? I was in law school whenstudents were starting to bring their computers into classes and hadwifi access, and I heard professors complain about the distraction tostudents. True, I saw plenty of students playing Solitaire or IMingduring class, but it must also be said that I never saw a teacher makethe effort to embrace the technology and involve it in the pedagogicalprocess. Maybe Twitter (or live blogging platforms like MixedInk or EtherPad) provides an opportunity forprofessors to engage students in the learning experience in new andinteresting ways.

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