by Limor Schafman
I was just at two conferences in the past week that really showed different cultural takes on Twitter. The first was the We Media Conference which took place in Miami. Granted, the conference was by and for people in the media industry. Laptops were on laps at all times and fingers were a flying. Eyes were on the screens more than on the speakers. TweetDeck was the browser of choice from my over the shoulder observations, and We Media scored #1 and #2 on the days of the conference in the Twitter rankings.
Next I flew to Tel Aviv for the ISOC-IL (Internet Society of Israel) Conference. Cloud computing, video games, virtual worlds, IPv6, mobile web where some of the topics covered. Clearly a country and audience that is highly tech savvy. But what did I see? Several (but not everyone) with laptops, and I was one of the few twittering about the conference - habits are hard to break. What was everyone else doing? Shockingly, they were fully focused on the speakers, listening avidly and actively participating with their presence and attention in the session. I have to tell you, the "feeling" of the conference sessions was completely different. They felt grounded and focused, rather than the "there but not fully there" feeling I often get and have myself at conferences and gathering b/c I am tweeting or checking email or texting or... Speaking to the organizers, they had a tweet local and tried to get attendees to do it, but the attendees were not interested.
I don't know why this cultural difference exists? Israelis are as much on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and MySpace as any Americans. But the attention was different.
If you have clues as to why - would love to hear them.