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August 23, 2011


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The Girl Next Door

I completely agree that these days when you attend a trade show - whether it's Blogher or something else - no one seems "connected." They're too busy staying "connected." We live in a very scary world, that's all I can say!!!!

Reluctant Blogger

Yes, it would freak me out too. It is like those parents who always watch their children's performances in plays etc through a video camera - never just watching and enjoying the moment. I always feel a little sad about that.
Live Tweeting indeed! Honestly as if the world would stop if you just sat and listened for a minute and didn't post everything somewhere. Some people do only seem to live to broadcast to others - and that is a pity.
Glad you were in the moment anyway and saved your write-ups til you got home.


I think that would have freaked me out and been too reminiscent of a mind-control sci-fi film or something. What is 'real' to people who do that? Is their reality always now through the portal of a device? They choose to make it so, if that's the case. I do find it a little scary that face to face communication would be so jettisoned.

It's also rude in the context you describe. If someone has taken the trouble to prepare a speech which you voluntarily attend, you ought to have the courtesy of giving that person an undivided chunk of time as they have given you. If you want to subtly tweet a few things, then yeah whatever. But not to look up from a computer? That's pretty bad.

Slow Panic

That would have bothered me too. I feel that if you are there to here someone speaking you should actually be listening.

I just heard someone on NPR say that a good rule with pulling out electronics is if you would feel comfortable pulling out a crossword puzzle and working on it it's OK to get absorbed in your phone/tablet, etc. if not, you shouldn't pull the electronics out. I thought that was a good rule.


I would have felt the same way, and I think it's rude also.

Walking on campus, I'm amazed at how many people are walking next to someone, but talking to someone else on a cell phone. I see that as a problem.

Busy Bee Suz

Yeah, that is kinda weird. A room full of people with their heads down? while someone is talking? weird. Actually it's rude....don't you think?


I have the same issue at Netroots Nation - I NEVER bring my laptop to the sessions and frankly I am not alone in that, BUT, it is a conundrum when it is an event centered on BEING connected. I know I have often appreciated the efforts of folks to live blog or live tweet sessions. Heck, I was in one session at NN11 and was following the tweets on another session on my phone!

But, I know that personally I cannot juggle all that. I need to be looking up at the presenters and actively listening. Maybe I'm just old :-) After all, that is how I learned in college - I wasn't typing away as I took notes, I was writing, but that seems to require less disconnect than a computer. Plus, the computer serves up so many distractions of it's own if it is connected to the internet.


I do think it is rude and also a sign that people may want to be connected, but they are actually shutting out life by being so pugged in all the time.


I have been in a meeting where a person is sitting there cross stitching or knitting or something. She does this at every meeting we both attend. How can you give your full attention to the speaker when you are constantly counting and looking at a pattern? And what message is that speaker getting, that I'm not as important as what you are working on? I for one think it is rude. And people, please put you phone on silent during these events!


Why not turn off the phone entirely when sitting in a meeting? I do not think the world as we know it, will come to and end even if you can't read every fb entry made by your 847 friends the moment it appears...

green girl in wisconsin

I could totally see this happening. I unplug so often that I'm surprised when others don't!


Life in general is becoming too "plugged in". I've seen two friends sitting at dinner, both looking at their phones, or on their phones talking to someone. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that if I am listening to a speaker, I can take notes (imagine!), and still maintain eye contact. I also do NOT look at my phone (or take calls, unless it is from home, and even then it would only be an emergency), while out with friends. Sometimes I think common courtesy has flown out the window. Oh, another huge gripe of mine is when a speaker is talking, and someone is talking to others during the speech. Maybe this is all why I am hesitant to get an iPhone. I don't want to feel the urge to look at my phone constantly.


Beyond anything else, it was just plain RUDE. We have a rule at our house there is no talking/texting, computing etc during dinner at home or out. None, let it ring, beep, bling, or buzz...not responding so that real human conversation might occur. There is a bowl and everyone puts their "device" in it and it goes into another room or out on the porch where we can't hear them. Guests who have been here more than once always willingly give them up, so how hard would it have been for those at your conference to have just powered off for the session? People just do not stop to think how their actions are perceived by others around them and usually somewhat hostile when something is pointed out. I would have hated being a speaker, it would have been frustrating to say the least!

Aunt Snow

I totally agree with you. Leave the laptop in the hotel room, when you go to the sessions, bring your ears, eyes, and attention. Why go at all if you're going to tune out and stay online?


If I were the speaker, it would drive me NUTS. I'm not sure I would be very gracious.

But that could very well be the teacher in me!


completely agree. haven't been to a conference in a long time, but am really bothered when i'm in a restaurant and see a bunch of women together for what looks like a girls night out, and 5 of the 6 of them are texting and only muttering occasional comments to each other. you're right that so much is nonverbal, and yet it's being ignored and that's such a huge loss. glad you posted this, and good for you for sticking to your resolution anyway!


Great post. I wasn't even present for these events but I was annoyed just reading your description of them.

Going to tweet it out, which reminds me, where are your social media icons on this blog? NEED TO GET THEM! (tweet Peter Pollock for help on this)


Did you or anyone actually SAY something about that at the conference? If not, why not? The tyranny of the internets? It's not just the kids who are losing the ability to be present, and to communicate live. With real people. By talking and shit.


I have to say, this was my third BlogHer and that just doesn't bother me.

I've called Twitter the lifeblood of BlogHer before and I feel that it's part of the experience.

It's not like being at home, it's not like being in a restaurant, it's its own creature. I agree that people need to disconnect more, but I don't feel that way at BlogHer.


My first experience of feeling like this was 20 years ago at a meeting where one participant had a laptop and was taking notes. It truly was simply her preferred note-taking tool (no wifi, facebook or twitter back then), but it still felt really different than the note-taking the rest of us were doing with pen and paper. Something about the fairly upright screen acting like a fence perhaps... The scenario has only gotten more common, but I still feel the same way.

The Zadge

I felt the exact same way! The irony of "social media" is that no one communicates with each other in person. I also realized that a large majority of people who "live" on line are very socially shy/awkward. As a huge extrovert myself, I just don't get it.

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