Speaking and wifi at events

Jeff Veen had some interesting thoughts last night on speaking at events where access to wifi might be a potential distraction to the audience and the speaker: Is anyone listening? WiFi and the new ADD. I’ve had similar thoughts at recent conferences.

Jeff sums up a concern here:

“Recently, I’ve been finding myself speaking to rooms full of attendees with heads down and typing. At first, I was happy to assume people taking were notes or blogging the event. But my recent informal surveys as an attendee (that is, looking around at screens) shows me that most folks are buried in email, feed readers, and various web-surfing activities.”

I certainly notice a difference in the way I’m able to connect with an audience between venues where wifi exists and where it doesn’t. I still haven’t decided if one scenario is better than the other. I sit on the fence for the same reasons Jeff stated and those Maxine gave in her comment (#5) on Jeff’s post. I know wifi’s existence at any future event is more and more likely.

A couple months ago, I was fortunate to speak at two conferences back to back. One had no wifi in the auditorium and only two power outlets on either side of the stage; the second had wifi and power strips run under every other row of chairs, and laptops were open everywhere. My sessions at the first conference went great. Possibly the best time I’ve ever had speaking, because the audience was right there with me. At the second conference, I bombed and thought I was going to get yanked off stage at any second. Of course the two conferences covered different ranges of topics, and catered to different interests. But I also think my performance (and my own perception of the performance) was affected by how connected I felt to the audience.

I don’t mind when lots of people in the audience have laptops open — whether I’m on stage or in the audience. It’s not necessarily a distraction for me either way. I do think the amount of people who have their heads buried into their laptops have an effect on the quality of that talk, presentation, keynote, or lecture though.

Pardon the lame wannabe-connection. Being up on stage to speak is kind of like a band being up on stage in a small venue. If the audience is into what’s going on, it fuels the band. And they play/sing with more energy. And that feeds back into the crowd and they get pumped up. And the whole thing is a snowball effect. If a good portion of the crowd ignores the band and takes up interest in conversation, their drinks, waiting for the headline act to come onstage, whatever… Sometimes you can see a noticeable impact on the band’s performance. Even if the audience is talking about the band, if they’re not showing any interest to the band, it comes off as apathy.

My point: audience interest, engagement, and participation leads to a more dynamic, enjoyable event for everyone. Duh.

The responsibility here doesn’t lie solely with the audience. It’s also up to the event organizers and each speaker to engage the audience with whatever means available. Obviously interest will wane if the speaker/panel stinks, or the topic misses the audience completely.

This new era of connectivity everywhere opens up new possibilities for engaging the audience. At some point, maybe they’re not just possibilities anymore — they are requirements if a speaker wants to charge and engage a potentially distracted audience.

Just like Jeff opening up AIM for the audience to pose questions without using a mic — great idea. I’ve seen other speakers project the IRC channel on a side screen so everyone can see the discussion happening in the background. I’ve also seen some really cool accounts of the conference and new perspectives when people live-blog the event, whether they post immediately or after the conference is over.

As a member of the audience, I’m also torn over wifi or no wifi at events. Sometimes, I’m glad to find connectivity in the room because I get to see the meta-conversation for that session. Or find photos posted a minute ago to Flickr. Or check out examples the speaker just mentioned. Or, let’s be honest, check email. Other times, I’m relieved to find there’s no wifi and no power outlets in the room, because I know my laptop will stay closed (as will most others’) and I just get to sit back and enjoy and learn and soak it all in.

So I don’t know what the answers to Jeff’s original questions are. But I doubt those who want to keep the wifi out will be able to keep it out for long. We might need to adapt our expectations as speakers and as audience members. Because the way we interact at events and public gatherings is changing. At least where geeks are present. And the mainstream won’t be far behind.

Now… excuse me while I “disconnect” my laptop and whack myself over the head for using too many variants of “connect” too many times, and for completely different purposes.

Update: I think I need to restate my last paragraph as a question before too many people go down the road of “I can do whatever I want if I paid for it.” That’s not what I’m after here, because I already mostly agree. What I’m wondering instead: Should (and how should) speakers and event planners adapt to engage the audience if the way we interact is changing because of new technology and available connectivity?


  1. Jeff Croft jeffcroft.com

    I guess my feeling on this is the same as it always was in relation to college courses: if I’m paying to see you speak, then I ought to be able to do whatever I like during that course (assuming, obviously, that it’s non-discruptive). If I choose to pay for a course and then totally ignore the speaker, that’s my prerogative. I can see how it’d be annoying from the presenter’s perspective, but that person is getting paid either way.

    Bottom line: it’s my choice whether I want to learn or not. If I chose to ignore then presenter, then I am only hurting myself. WiFI is really no different than anything else that may be be a distraction if I allow it to be (coffee, cell phone, note pad, hot girl sitting next to me, etc.).

  2. Andy Hume thedredge.org

    Hi Doug,

    In the end, I thought not having wifi at @Media was for the best.

    Firstly, for speakers like yourself to look up and find 200 heads buried in laptops must be a serious distraction, not to mention knock to confidence.

    Secondly, I’m glad we weren’t coming out of presentations and all sitting in the corridor checking email and the like. It meant we had to interact in the real world, which was great for people who wanted to get some networking done ;) – not to mention some drinking!

    When that kind of speaker-audience connection is made – as it certainly was in your two presentations, Doug – the experience is more enjoyable for everyone, and everyone gets more out of it.

    I vote to keep wifi at these events limited. Good choice Patrick.

  3. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com/

    Andy: Heh, if Patrick were honest with you, I think he’d admit it wasn’t much of a choice not to have wifi for @media. If I remember right, Patrick was originally fighting to get wifi in the auditorium, but wasn’t having much luck. Circumstances and what not. A few people complained privately and publicly about the lack of wifi. But I think it worked out for the better in this case.

  4. Tom Richards blog.orbyonline.com/

    I’ve just graduated college so I don’t have much experience at conventions yet, but I would assume the effect on the speaker would be the same as it was in lecture: distracting.  Certainly, people have a “right” to do whatever they want during a lecture, but the combine effect of 75% of the audience not paying attention to the speaker drastically effects the quality of the lecture for the 25% that are choosing to focus entirely on the subject at hand.  

    Additionally, the combined sound of 100 people keying on their laptops in a small room cannot help but have a distractive effect. 

Admittedly, I opened my laptop up a few times in class over the past four years for more than taking notes, but I tried to do so as little as possible as a sign of respect for both my professor and other interested classmates.  

  5. Karl Swedberg englishrules.com/

    Great point about the responsibility of the speaker, Doug.

    As far as audience responsibility, however, I think the issue gets murky when we make facile distinctions between “disruptive” and non-disruptive behavior, as Jeff Croft seems to do in his comment (no offense, Jeff). As a former teacher, I can vividly recall how the silent, “non-disruptive” behavior of an influential student–sleeping with head on desk–could completely change the clasroom dynamic. A student or conference-goer might claim that what he or she is doing isn’t bothering anyone else, but the unspoken message being sent to others in the room can be deafening.

    What we have a “right” to do as paying students or conference-goers and what we have a social responsibility to do are, I believe, different matters. Ultimately, I’d err on the side of social responsibility.

  6. Dave Gregory screwlewse.com

    Sorry Jeff, I hafta disagree here with a passion.

    For many, speaking isn’t just about the money. It is really their passion and they want to help others, educate others, bounce ideas off the crowd to get more ideas and solutions to complex problems etc. I have a passion for web development and design that goes beyond the money. That is why we sometimes take “pro-bono” jobs.

    To say, “who cares as long as we get paid or paid for the event” is not accounting for the fact that there are other motivators out there. If I were to speak about XHTML/CSS at a conference, I would be more interested in many other aspects. Feedback from the others, questions, desires to try out techniques I explained in the speech.
    I would not be very happy if someone got up and told me to say my peice and get on with it cuz we all paid good money to do what we want.

  7. Eric Meyer meyerweb.com/

    To follow up on Dave’s point: at some conferences, the speakers is getting paid nothing. SXSW is a good example. Unless it’s a keynote speaker, the people on the stage got into the Interactive festival for free, and that’s it. All travel is on their own dime, or their employer’s. They get paid nothing for their talk.

    For the last two years, I’ve paid quite a bit of money out of my own pocket to be at SXSW and give presentations. I’m far from being the only speaker in that boat, too. At some other conferences, the speaker is lucky to be paid a few hundred dollars and get a night or two in the hotel paid for by the conference. Of course, there are those conferences where the speakers have all expenses paid and are paid a tidy sum to boot. Those conferences are now very rare, and very highly sought after, at least in our field.

    This is not to say that I think wifi should be banned from conferences; far from it. (Far, FAR from it.) But don’t assume the speaker’s getting compensation whether you pay attention to them or not. In many cases, it may be that by not paying attention, you’re robbing them of the only worthwhile reward they can expect to receive.

  8. Jeff Croft jeffcroft.com

    Eric and Dave…

    You certainly make good points. And trust me, if I were in the audience of a Bowman or Meyer presentation, I wouldn’t be the one not paying attention. :)

    As I said in my original post, I can certainly understand how audience members not paying much attention to you as the speaker would be annoying, disrespectful, and make the experience less rewarding. However, if I were that speaker, I’d still have a hard time saying something to the person reading his e-mail. I just can’t imagine piping up and being like, “Look buddy. I’m sure whatever is going on in your solitaire game is of utmost importance to your high score, but really, I’m trying to give a lecture here!” It seems to me that people playing around on their computers at a conference with WiFi is just an annoyance speakers are going to have to deal with. And frankly, if someone isn’t paying attention to you just because there is a radio wave running around the room, I have a hard time believe they’d be all that interested in what you’re saying if there wasn’t. So while it might feel like that person is robbing you of some of your reward, I’m not sure they really are, in most cases. It’s a bit like Adobe claiming they lost $800 when a junior high kid pirated Photoshop — no they didn’t, because that kid never would have been able to buy it in the first place.

    My point was really that you can’t make someone interested in your presentation that doesn’t want to be. In any classroom situation you’re going to have people there who didn’t choose to be. It’s in your best interest to try to engage them anyway, but it’s also in your best interest to realize that you might not be able to and try not to let it affect what you’re there to do.

    Of course, that’s not really what Doug is talking about here (especially in light of his update). I think the answer to Doug’s question is that yes, if you want to engage the audience, even in direct competition with e-mail, the web, and IM, you’re going to have to adapt. How do you adapt? I dunno. Maybe have them use their computers as part of the presentation. Sure, you can’t make them, but encouraging it might help. I’m sure other people (especially those who have more presentation experience than me) will have other ideas.

    Another (perhaps-related) question is: should conferences be doing something about this in the interest of having happy speakers? Should they be not offering WiFi in the actual lecture halls? Should they be discouraging it in other ways?

    Personally, I’d be annoyed if I went to a conference and couldn’t get WiFi anywhere, but if I could get it in the common areas but not in the lecture halls, that’d be okay with me.

  9. Cameron Moll cameronmoll.com/

    What I’m wondering instead: Should (and how should) speakers and event planners adapt to engage the audience if the way we interact is changing because of new technology and available connectivity?

    Yes. In many ways, the onus still lies on the speaker to engage the audience. How? Excellent question. Though I have a hard time *not* giving full attention to a relevant story and tangible visuals. (There’s two.) WiFi at conferences isn’t going away anytime soon.

    That said, we all cry foul when someone answers a cell phone in the middle of a movie. Granted, checking email and Flickr pics are much quieter activities, but any less distracting for speakers and other audience members?

  10. Jeff Croft jeffcroft.com

    That said, we all cry foul when someone answers a cell phone in the middle of a movie. Granted, checking email and Flickr pics are much quieter activities, but any less distracting for speakers and other audience members?

    Yes. They are most definitely less distracting than answering a cell phone. Totally non-disruptive? Probably not. But certainly not on par with answering a cell phone in a movie.

  11. Ian Brown sageindustries.com

    Like I said on Jeff Veen’s site, I think that it’s a good that we are able to connect via the wi-fi. Especially in the cases of people IMing questions, rather than mic. I imagine it would create more questions, as some people just don’t like public speaking.

    I just think it’s just going to become a bit of a faux-pas to read email and converse whilst someone is presenting to you. Just like mobile phones in the theatre, restaurants, etc.

  12. Keith 7nights.com/asterisk/

    As an attendee I noticed awhile back that I was usually very distracted when I had my laptop and WiFi. I’ve recently taken to leaving it at the hotel room.

    There are disadvantages, but the temptation to IM, look at e-mail, etc. was too much. I’ve gotten much more out of sessions I’ve attended since.

    But I can’t say that’s the right thing for everyone.

    I think speakers need to try and engage more, for sure. But how? If someone just wants to sit and IM, they’ll do it. The thing that bugs me is when folks enter a room fully intending to “just get some work done” or something. Like the session is actually less distracting for them then the hall, or their hotel room, or whatever. I’ve done it and until I looked down at the people not paying attention to me speaking, I thought nothing of it.

    There is a certain amount of responsibility on both sides is my thinking and it goes beyond just “not being disruptive.” The speaker should do his best to engage and the attendees should do their best to pay attention. It’s kind of a respect thing…

  13. Alex Foley bronto.com

    You think it’s bad at these kind of events…at my University, laptops are required for all incoming Freshman, but some professors have had to go to the point of banning the required laptops in their classes. People aren’t taking notes, they are chatting on AOL, reading the news, playing games, or being otherwise distracted.

  14. Knut Karnapp kk-works.de

    I’d like to add something to Alex’s thoughts. I totally see the same things happening at my university here, too. I always wonder why those, who have their laptops open (don’t get me wrong mine is open often too) play games and stuff. I don’t need the wifi in the auditorium for smth like that – the cafeteria is wide open.

    My point is shouldn’t someone who makes his way into such a conference room know why he / she does so?!

    Banning wifi completely isn’t the right way, though. What if someone has some great ideas during such a presentation and needs to type them immediately let’s just say to make a nice
    Zoom Layout
    – just a for instance :)

    To sum up I like to have the opportunity to “wifi”, what everyone makes out of it is…

  15. Chris K whiteboxerdesign.com

    Other people have mentioned this, so I just want to second it. The bulk of the burden falls on the attendees. If they want to get something out of it, they will pay attention and participate. Otherwise they’re wasting their money.

    I agree it sucks for the speaker to look out and hear the crickets. I think Veen’s idea of using IM is a great way to help the audience engage. It’s sad that in today’s culture the attention span is so short that people have a hard time not getting distracted in less than 5 minutes (I’m guilty as well). Getting the audience more involved is the key, but exactly what the magic formulae for that is, I don’t know.

  16. Ed

    People have the right to set $100 bills on fire in the street, too. Doesn’t make it any less stupid.

    If people want to waste their time and their company’s money goofing off during a conference presentation, so be it… but why are they there in the first place? Just skip the session if you’re not going to pay attention. Show the presenter (and the learning process in general) a little respect and hang out in your room or the hotel bar instead if all you’re going to do is check email and goof off.

    And if the goof-offs are paying for the conference on their own dime… good luck in life. Nice job spending your hard-earned cash for the ability to check email, which you could’ve done for the cost of a latte at an internet cafe. I sincerely hope you’re a competitor of mine… I’m learning while you’re wasting money. ;)

  17. Dave Gregory screwlewse.com

    I agree Jeff, you can’t MAKE someone do something they dont want to. (At least not without threats of violence. hehe)

    I think there are two extremes on the pendulum.
    1. I paid for this freekshow so I can do what I want.
    2. WiFi banned.

    In the middle??? Just as cellphones have become bad juju to use at a restraunt, I think laptops may undergoe the same peer scruitny and make the majority of attendees WiFi wisely. If I was reading my email and the guy next to me whispered, “nice email buddy” in a sortof disgusted way, I would close the laptop and remember that I was here to listen.

    Solution? How do other things vyiing for our attention keep it in this day where ADD is considered normal. I shudder to say this, but we probably need to take hints from television. They keep peoples undivided attention for hours! How do THEY do it? Probably by making as interactive an experience possible. Fancy moving flash pieces will probably do that job! Instead of just showing off a sample of code… have the screen go to warp and stop at the code etc etc… Lame ways of keeping ones attention but we know they work. I would probably look to Discovery channel because they teach AND entertain. (emphasis on the entertain) I want to know how they build choppers for some reason.. so I watch. I watch Crock Hunter because I want to see him get bitten! (is that a bad thing to say?)

    All in all, I think we as a community may want to address these issues just as we are. Those going to the conferences most likely read these blogs too… they will get the idea.. and then peer critique may help too. There will always be those that use their Nextel speakerphone yelling thingie in the restraunt, but most people turn off their cellphones at the door or go outside when getting a call.

  18. Regardless of Wifi: I don’t understand why you bother to (a) go in the first place and (b) remain seated if the subject does not interest you.

    I’ve spoken at a lot of different places and I’ve actually once thrown a gentleman out because he was telephoning rather loudly in the middle of the audience. Needless I used him as an example, since the subject was “dealing with resistance in a new IT project” ;-)

    I think I would give a big jerk at the ethernetcable that leads to the router somewhere during the speech or beforehand. Or simply request to keep laptops closed or walk out if you cannot be offline for one second.

  19. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com

    Do you format comments as coming from the author based on the name or on the e-mail as well?

  20. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com/

    Whoever that was above, I guess you have your answer.

  21. Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com/

    So, attempting to pull this discussion back inline with what I was originally wondering…

    If wifi is available, and people do have laptops out and open, what are other ways speakers can take advantage of this — rather than allowing the scenario to be a distraction?

    In addition to the AIM/IRC channels already mentioned, I could also imagine a wiki set up in advance — either a global wiki for the entire event, with pages for each session, or at least one set up just for that session. Or even just a blog post, with open comments. Either one of these could potentially allow even people not attending the conference to semi-participate without being there if they knew exactly what time the speaker/panel was presenting.

    We kind of did this at SXSW this past year for the panel John Allsopp moderated on Web Design 2010: the future of the Web. Dave Shea set up a blog for the purposes of continuing the discussion. Though there could have been more active uses of it during the panel. I don’t know. We tried to set up a SubEthaEdit doc for collabortive editing for the same session, but the network kept going in and out, dropping everyone each time, so it didn’t work for us.

    What other means are there?

    fyi, I don’t care to judge anyone who opens a laptop and checks email, or whatever. I know I’ve done it once or twice, especially if I’m bored or the speaker loses my attention (and/or respect). It’s their perogative if wifi is made available. However, if you know you’re going into a presentation where you might be using the laptop more than paying active attention, it’s probably common courtesy to at least sit in the very back where others behind you can’t see your screen and don’t know that you aren’t taking notes.

  22. If something is set up so that people can interact with the presenter – then fine.
    Otherwise, there are two aspects.
    The first is common courtesy. I think it is rude to go to any kind of presentation and to do otherwise than at least try to give the speaker your full attention.
    Secondly, a talk of any kind is a two way interaction. The response of the audience affects the speaker. If they do not pay attention then the speaker invariably goes downhill.
    If the presentation is boring part of the reason could be the audience.

  23. Gavin j igobi.com

    I agree with Richard Wright:

    A presentation is a stage show and the audience is very much apart of the whole experience. If the audience is unresponsive the experience is lessened.

    “I can do what I damn well please” is the standard cry of the selfish egocentric. Other people paid for the event as well so try not to stuff it up for them. If you are not interested in the presentation go outside. Or, as Doug mentioned, at least sit at the back.

    Ed wrote:
    “…People have the right to set $100 bills on fire in the street, too…”
    Not in Australia, it is illegal!

  24. Brian O’Neill rhythmspice.com

    Welcome to the performer’s life Doug ;-)

  25. Knut Karnapp kk-works.de

    #19 You’re way too late, If I remember right you fixed it a few weeks ago, right doug?

    I have to add a small quotation from a professor:

    The presenter knows, what he’s about to say. Connecting to the people is the challenge of the upcoming decade.

  26. Ted Drake tdrake.net

    I teach photography at a local college and have spoken at several conferences. I can add that the audience’s participation is critical. I don’t use notecards or scripts, I like to have a very brief outline in my head and make sure I hit the points. I have no problem going into tangents if the subjects begin to shift.

    When I have a class that is interested, the speaking on my part is much better. When the class is disinterested, I feel like the semester was wasted. As a teacher, I can ignore those who are simply sitting in the chair for class credit and spend extra time with those that want to learn.

    As a speaker, I start using more jokes and asking the audience for questions, what do you not understand?

    How does this relate to wifi? If you have something more important on your mind, do it. It won’t bother me. But if the whole room is doing something, even if they are just using AIM to discuss the fact that I buttoned my shirt wrong, I would be missing the connection that makes a conference more effective.

    The lack of wifi at the @media was a bummer for about 5 minutes and then I got over it. I was at a recent Museums on the Web conference and their super-powered wifi actually reached my hotel room several floors up. THAT was nice! I didn’t have to pay the hotel’s $20/day charge.

  27. One experiment I have used once (before Wifi was available) was a system of voting boxes. Everyone in the audience had a voting box with a red and a green button.

    During the lecture we used some questions before we plunged into a new subject and asked the audience vote on a question using the buttons. The system calculated results and we used those in the presentation. Audience attention (and anticipation) rose during the lecture and we had a very relaxed, fun, highly interactive session. Unfortinaly, to get such a system for a session is rather expensive in relation to overall costs.

    I guess using a simple webserver hooked into the network and some server side language scripting could make up for a simple voting system to be used in a lecture and be cost efficient. That would be leveraging the WiFi environment present.

    Preparation though is much harder. You must have different scenario’s in your lecture based on possible outcomes, but it can be very worthwhile in my experience.

    Voting is a split-second task, while typing takes up more time and concentration. I do have problems myself taking notes and listen attentivly at the same time. I think WiKi pages or communal blogs take away a lot of the attention in the first place and makes the life of the presentor much harder.

  28. Nathan Smith sonspring.com/

    I’m a grad student, and at my school we have wirless internet at most every building on campus. It’s funny to look around the room during class and see not only that people aren’t paying attention, but to note the types of things that they are wasting time on.

    Most of it is email / IM’ing, and web-surfing, with the occasional glances at fantasy football/baseball sites. It is interesting to me that we as students shell out all this money for our education, and then sit there absent-mindedly letting it all passively slip by.

  29. Kees Lemmens cpa-design.com

    In addition to comment 28 by Nathan; indeed most university campuses support WiFi, only it’s remarkable how bad their security is, an issue what should be considered carefully; especially since it is too easy to monitor what each connected computer is reviewing, visiting or whatever it is doing. Network monitoring programs allow us to monitor each connected computer from any random chosen connected computer.

    To return to the starting point of this topic, you might be able to get your audience more attended when you warn them for the risks of using the WiFi, something like: All you, who are using the WiFi here, are you aware that anyone can see what you are doing? Are you aware of the fact that you have absolutely no privacy despite how good your firewalls are? You never know who is watching you, it could be me :). I would appreciate it most if you listed to me speech.

  30. gavin j igobi.com.au

    You can’t brow-beat an audience to pay attention — you have to win it. WiFi is here to stay and asking people to ignore it might get you off on the wrong foot.

    I would think that most attendees are at a presentation because they want to be. They are truly interested in the topic but something just goes wrong and they drift off into laptopland. Sometimes it can be the speaker, but I don’t believe that is the case with Doug. He is a very engaging presenter — not boring at all.

    The distraction of the laptop is that some people think they can multi task. What they are really doing is dividing their attention;
    “Mmm? Oh.. yes, yes I am listening. Do go on…”
    People tend to pay more attention to what they are reading — listening is secondary.
    The speaker can eventually become like background music.

    Possibly the only way to completely engage these people is to compete for their desktop. If they are going to pull out a laptop make sure they are using it to enhance the presentation — whether it be AIM, expanded online examples, or whatever. Grab them at the beginning when their attention is still strong, though don’t make it so that those who don’t have laptops feel they are missing out!

  31. Stefan √Ökesson

    I heard this teacher at a course in ayurveda first told all students to put down their notebooks. They should only listen…

    I think the best approach is to not let anyone take any notes, use a laptop, PDA ot whatever but only listen. The human mind can only concentrate 100% at one thing at a time.

    Print outs of the presentation should be hanlded out later, it could be notes or the complete presentation.

    This will also make the seminar, conference, presentation etc more relaxing for everyone, even thouh some in the beginning will feel restless not using laptops and stuff…


  32. karl Dubost la-grange.net/

    One of the best conferences I have attended which was using WIFI was in Montréal. There were people presenting Talks, there were webloggers in the room writing posts and blogging live the conference. A curator was going through the posts online and was displaying on an additional screen the comments of the crowd in the room that they just blogged at the same time the talk was given.

    * It was fun.
    * It was a live interaction between the presenter and the silent thinking of the crowd (aka. “Oh this talk sucks” or “That’s just great, he said that…”)
    * It’s not anymore a passive listening, but active, a kind of game.
    * If the presenter is good enough, he will interact that the live comments. For example, a negative comment pops up on a weblog about something which has been said then the presenter can address the issue.

    You also can do that with an IRC channel displayed where people are commenting.

  33. Jeff

    Hey, as a speaker I could care less if someone chooses to pay attention elsewhere. I speak to those who listen and work hard to deliver up gems of wisdom to make it worth their time and money. As to those who don’t listen – forget asking me after the lecture what I said – as I too have priorities. Class out? Time to socialize. Class was for the learning part. ;-P (I, too, can have a bad attitude.)

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