Twitter hash-tags have lost their mojo.

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I spoke at iStrategy some time back in Melbourne and was blown away by the level of engagement from the Audience via Twitter, by far the most hash-tagged tweets I have ever seen. My iPad twitter ap was alive the entire time I was speaking with real time commentary about my presentation, can’t beat good-honest real-time feedback!

Only, it wasn’t.

I felt the entire time that Twitter and particularly the use of a hash-tag had lost its mojo. Previous when I have been speaking there has been a real balance to the Twitter feedback, some great, some not so great, and some just plain old brutal. But not this time. In fact, I don’t think there was a single tweet that could be euphemised as “brutally honest”. I suspect the medium is just too prolific.

In a conference of the size of iStrategy, which numbered around 300 delegates, there’s nowhere to hide and worse still there is a very good chance that the speaker you have just appraised will know what was said and by whom. And no one wants a possible confrontation!

As a speaker at the conference I wanted that brutal feedback, and I was looking for it real time to make adjustments to my session. But it didn’t come. I’d appreciate any suggestion that my talk was perfect, however I saw some sessions that were quite poor yet no negative tweets emerged!

I think we need to bring some anonymity back to twitter, at least find some other way to harvest the ugliest of commentary. Or accept that feedback is a gift, good, bad or ugly!

5 thoughts on “Twitter hash-tags have lost their mojo.

  1. Feel free to look up the #SayMedia tags from second day of iStrategy. While it did occur it might be too harsh and held my words… it was only when I was encouraged by the other agreeing members of the workshop that I did openly tweet feedback while the host was speaking. It was also intentional that the speaker, event and his agency be aware of this feedback.

    That workshop was the only disappointing factor of the whole two days. Being all too well aware of how focus groups are run from all angles, I couldn’t let go of the idea that we were all being subtly milked for our ideas – rather than being offered a learning experience as we’d expected. Did I feel i’d overstepped? Possibly… Your thoughts?

  2. I think you were right to level your concern, oddly I heard from a whole bunch of people that the silverpop workshop was a pitch but nothing was mentioned on #iStrategy… for that I was dissapointed.

    1. Hi Billy, you raise some interesting points. I think you are right – We have had some brutally honest feedback in the survey we send out post-iStrategy, where anonymity is guaranteed. That’s not to say we don’t get negative tweets from the #iStrategy hashtag – mainly because of pitching or a lack of coffee (god forbid we run our of coffee! etc), but the results are generally limited to a handful of tweeters who have a slightly more say-it-as-i-see-it reputation. If, in your case, you didn’t get any negative sentiment at all, perhaps you just put on a really good show?!

  3. It’s a tough one when you’re attending a conference to post the sometimes ‘brutally honest’ tweets, particularly here in Australia. The reality is when you’re attending a conference you’re usually there as a representative of your company and whilst your tweets might be your own opinion… They are also on company time. As someone who does ‘madly’ tweet at conferences I find this particular point challenging. The only approach for me would be to try an account with anonymity or keep my trap shut. #sigh

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