To chat/blog or not to chat/blog
The times article talks about using the use of IM and blogging during presentations. I know there were several blogs during JavaOne while a whole bunch of us were impatiently awaiting James Gosling to give his keynote. But how does this effect the presentation?
The article goes on to talk about bringing this subcommunity of people chatting during the session to the forefront, and say, show the conversation on the wall. This way everyone can see what everyone else is thinking (or writing). Effectively, this moves conversdations that occur after the session to during the session -- infinitely reducing the feedback loop.
This could be really cool because a presenter could more quickly sum up their audience and change the direction of the presentation accordingly. There is also the potential for the session to become more of a "two way" session. For example, I was on a webinar (with conference call) last week that supported chat. The phone call was one way, but you could chat the whole time (as soon as you thought up a question). When the presenter reached the end of a section, he looked at the chat messages and answered anything that had not yet been answered. I wish we could have been doing this at JavaOne!
This could also really backfire. The presenter could be attacked (whether deserved or not) by the audience. Maybe this would weed out unqualified presenters. Maybe this would keep inexperienced presenters from presenting, and keeping that presenter from sharing their insights.
On another note, I went to PLoP (a pattern conference) last year. The idea is to have collaborative sessions making constructive criticism on pattern papers. The entire conference enforced a strict no-laptop rule during sessions. If there is something you want to say to someone (or even write down) share it with the group, and share it immedately. Not sharing a bit of information could change the course of the entire rest of the session!