go read Cites & Insights

Walt Crawford’s lates Cites & Insights is out and has a fascinating several page discussion of “backchannel communication” going on at conferences, speaker panels, etc. Based on one blog posting and comments and expanded from there, Crawford discusses the recent [in our sphere anyhow] trend of laptop-enabled audience members not only being online during a speaker but communicating via chat or IRC with other attendees, comparing notes and discussing the talk in progress in a more formalized way. This was built into BloggerConII, you can read the transcripts from the librarianesque session if you’d like. I definitely do this during Council meetings sometimes, and yet when there’s a speaker at a conference, I often take special care to be at least one person in the audience who is paying attention, nodding and smiling at the right places, “getting it.” I will always remember the guy from RUSA who did this for me during a difficult right-after-lunch talk in an overhot conference room with bad acoustics when I was struggling to hold people’s attention; it was a kindness