Monday, April 8, 2013

To Live Tweet or Not To Live Tweet

To do so would ensure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, right?

In the course of discussions about the ISA and in my failed live-tweeting of a panel, the question of what to tweet, how to tweet, and whether to tweet came up.  As judges of twitterfightclub suggested: tweets from a conference?  Yuck.  So, we will have varied opinions about whether tweets of an academic conference would be sufficiently interesting to one's followers.  Well, one's followers are going to follow you for whatever it is you do that interests them.  Live tweeting might be a turn off but your followers are most likely to be folks who would be interested in getting a second hand take on an IR/poli sci paper.

How to tweet?  I need to get a keyboard for my ipad.  Otherwise, the typing is too hard.  But even that is not enough, as it is easy to lose track of the presentation and discussion when one is tweeting.  I learned that in my first attempt.  I can live tweet TV shows because of commercial and the DVR.  But hard to roll back and see what I missed during a panel at a conference.  So maybe not tweet panels that present formal models?

But is it ok to live tweet?  I raised this possibility as some people (mistakenly in my view) do not want their conference papers cited.  They put "Do not Cite" on the papers.  I have never really understood this but then again, I am a narcissitic attention-hound/self-promoter.  But isn't the point to disseminate ideas?  Only if they are fully baked?  Hmmm. 

But the point here is that people who do not want their work cited will not want it tweeted either.  However, as Dan Nexon pointed out while chatting about this (in reality, not just virtually), ISA (and APSA) requires people to upload their papers and anyone can walk into the panel rooms to watch a presentation.  The badges that come with the conference registration fee are only necessary for getting into the book room where the publishers are.  So, no real expectation of privacy. 

But is there an expectation of good manners?  That is, live-tweeting can distract presenters.  However, since these presenters are almost entirely professors, if they are distracted by a distracted audience, then they have more problems than just live-tweeters. 

I don't expect live-tweeting to take over the ISA or APSA or other conferences because
  1. not that many people are on twitter;
  2. tweeting tv shows is much easier since one does not need to explain the content--one is usually tweeting to others who are watching the same show (which is why I am not paying as much attention to twitter until I catch up on last night's Game of Thrones and Mad Men).  
  3. the people most likely to be interested are attending that panel or otherwise busy at the same conference.  
Still, there will be more of it simply because there is not much right now.  The only direction is up, really.  I expect there to be more than a few arguments along the way.  And those would be fun to live-tweet.

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