Live blogging and tweeting change the face of (boring) industry events

The industry event has been a feature of business since homo erectus sold his soul to become a biped, and sometimes nothing seems to have changed since those cave days.

If you’re of a certain age you’ll know what I mean. Interminably boring, expensive, pompous, time-wasting events that are designed to pouf the egos of presenters, usually men, who should stay in the office more and keep their PowerPoints to themselves.

The mobile industry in particular loves trade shows. Over the past decade there have been many, many such shows. Granted, the after-show parties were usually spectacular and made up for the previous numbing, but surely there must be a more exciting and efficacious way of bringing peers together to inspire that industry.

So you would think, but it wasn’t until the recent Situationist Divine Comedies of TechDisrupt that the trade show finally became something to look forward to, something innovative and, dare I say it, something young.

Other shows, notably the behemoths of Mobile World Congress and CTIA are trying to catch up by jazzing up their schedules and looking for charismatic keynotes, not the ones who pay the most money… allegedly.

But perhaps it is the audience themselves who have been responsible for making these shows edgier, more engaging and interactive. So, for the homo erecti among you let me introduce you to the concept of live blogging and tweeting.

A decent writer who blogs live can change the face and content of a show. Intelligent and constant posts about particular personalities and panels who are saying smart and controversial things bring these shows to life.

The Twittersphere continues this digital exposure and those who tweet in the audience add the hashtag of the event to their tweets creating a stream that anybody on Twitter can follow. They can also go back to the hashtag AFTER the tradeshow and remind themselves of who was who and what was said.

I went to one such show in London on Thursday, European Leaders (#HotTopicsEL). I was invited to tweet by the organisers, notwithstanding that I was under the ‘Chatham House Rules’, an old-fashioned diplomatic protocol that meant I could tweet, but not quote individuals.

Whether that was put in place because Google demanded it, I CANNOT POSSIBLY SAY, but it made (what was actually a very good event) more interesting and lliterally opened up the panel for questions for those following the hashtag or certain blogs.

However, even such immersion in the event couldn’t keep my mind still. I may have heard some terrific bon mots, but I couldn’t help thinking that if I had a machine-gun I could have wiped out just about every CEO in the mobile industry.

Proving that it takes more than a live blog or a bunch of tweets to overcome my traditional disdain for shows of this kind, but it’s certainly a start.

Monty (632 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.