I feel like I’ve been leading two lives at the Gartner Symposium this year in Orlando. Not because it is so busy; it always is. In every snippet of time I can grab, I am watching reactions to what we are saying and the conference as a whole on Twitter and blogs. It is an odd experience to get immediate feedback from a faceless crowd. It feels like I am experiencing the meatworld conference where I stand in front of many people and talk at them, or sit across from a few people and talk with them. Then there is the online shadow of the conference where people discuss the ideas, what they like and don’t like. While the face to face contacts are the most compelling, both experiences are real.
Luckily, most of the online commentary has been positive or at least thoughtful, with only a few gripes. Some people obviously have never put on an high profile event with 6000 attendees. Tellingly, when I reached out to some of the gripers for more info, they didn’t answer. I think they expect that they are complaining in to the air; they seem surprised and even disconcerted when it is obvious that we (or at least some of us) are listening.
I am tempted to have a Tweetscan window open during my presentations to see how it is coming over, but that is probably not a good idea. Concentrating on the ideas I want to get over and not fall over my feet take all my attention.
I appreciate the praise (obviously) and thoughtful comments which make me reexamine the ideas in my research, and many assumptions. I like hearing objections and different ways of thinking. I’ve always found that a good analyst is one who can listen as well as pontificate, although we tend to do a lot more of the latter. These social channels provide an additional way for me to listen. I can only hope that I do it well.