- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
I’ve Had Enough of “Live” at Conferences
There are times when "going live" is great. When there’s an earthquake or other catastrophy, it’s great. When you want to show gramma how your baby crawls on the floor while speaking with her on the phone, great. Other times, it’s not needed and can become more of an annoyance than anything.
Yesterday I sat in on a panel discussion at the Personal Democracy Conference in NYC. The panel was moderated by Esther Dyson and included the CEOs from CoverItLive, Qik, Mogulus and also Robert Scoble. Side note, if anyone would like me to post the full session video, I can. I didn’t find the session to be as strong as the talk Robert gave at MediaBistro last month.
Here’s a photo from the event. I’ve left out Esther who really didn’t say much for the entire panel except something at the end about oil prices and how Barack is going to fix the world. From the left: the CoverItLive CEO had no electronics on the stage and seemed to be the most involved in the discussion. Next to him is the Mogulus CEO who had a Macbook with a webcam apparently live and he moved the laptop all around during the panel. Next to him is the Qik CEO who had out his Nokia N95 and for most of the panel held up this camera so he could allow all of the Qik folks access to watch the panel. Last we have Robert Scoble who also had a Nokia N95 hooked up to Qik and his massive battery pack. In addition he had a Macbook Pro attached to the projector.
Every 2-3 seconds Robert was clicking on something and I found it to be very distracting. Speaking with a few other attendees, they said the same thing. Is it really necessary to watch Twitter, FriendFeed, Summize, Qik, Twittervision over and over every few seconds? If attendees want to monitor the activities, they can do it on their own devices.
This panel is only one example of this type of behavior. I’ve been seeing more and more of this and it’s disturbing. There’s absolutely no reason this panel had to be broadcast live. In fact, most conferences don’t need to be broadcast live. The sessions should absolutely be recorded but don’t need to be broadcast live.
In yesterday’s case, moderator Esther Dyson mentioned that attendees could text their questions in through Twitter. Great idea, but poor execution. Instead of having one of the panelists (scoble) monitoring for questions, let him actually be part of the panel and find an intern to monitor the backchannel for questions. It just takes away from the overall panel.
Another question regarding live conference broadcasting is: when will the conference organizers put a stop to the live broadcasts? If I can sit in my office and watch the conference, why spend the $2,000 to attend? Will DEMO and Techcrunch50 allow live broadcasting? What I can see is a PPV option where the conference provides the live streaming and charges a fee for it.
When I spend thousands of dollars and my time to attend a conference, I am really not interested in watching the Qik CEO broadcast the session live to everyone without paying attention to what’s going on in the moment. I also really don’t give a rats ass what people outside the conference think of what’s going on inside the room. I want to have the speaker’s full attention. I didn’t have that today – not by a longshot. And again, I am using this session as an example but the issue is much more widespread.
Let’s get back to why we go to conferences… the networking and the education. If you can’t be there for some reason, watch the sessions later on. Just because it’s cutsie and hip to go live all the time, doesn’t mean we need to.