Google Wave vs Twitter at conferences

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Twitter has quickly become the must-have channel for conference back-chat. Reading what other people tweet during a speech provides an extra dimension as you get a sense of what the audience is thinking. And just like passing notes in class, it’s also a lot more fun than simply sitting and listening. (and empowering – remember that Facebook interview from SXSW’08?)

Twitter is also a great way to attend a conference without actually being there – just follow a conference hashtag (e.g. #smib09 or #figarodigital) and find out all the gossip and the key points from the comfort of your desk.

But watch out Twitter. Google Wave is going to take this digitally-enabled conference back-channel a step further.

At the recent Ecomm conference delegates were provided with Google Wave accounts. What resulted was a fantastic showcase of collaboration and crowd-sourcing. Sprinkeled with a good dose of integrated offline and online real-time social media.   <– way too many social media buzzwords.

Here’s what happened: an audience member would create a Google Wave and others in the audience would edit the wave during the presentation. The result would be a crowd-sourced write-up of the presentation: a transcript of key points and a record of audience comments.
Here’s an example:

1. Audience member starts a Wave

google wave edits

2. Others join and edit the wave as the speaker talks

google wave edit1

3. By the end of the talk there are lots of people using the Wave (their photos are along the top) and the Wave became a complete record of the key points plus audience commnets below.

google wave finished
For this conference the organisers created a Wave directory so that you could find what was said in each presentation.

google wave conference schedule

The organisers also added waves so that the audience could give feedabck about the conference in general and ideas for next year.

google wave conference feedback

It’s worth pointing out that Twitter is still an early-adopter phenomenon, and Google Wave even more so. As a result, whilst I am a complete junkie for following conference tweets, I suspect it’s going to take a couple of years before this goes mainstream. But it will. And the impact on conference organisers and speakers is significant.

And just in case you are new to social media, make sure you check out the other excelent social media platform for conference notes: Slideshare. This is always the best place to find presentations from conferences.

Have you tried following conference tweets? Or waves? If so, have you found them useful? and will augmented reality will be the next major influence?

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117 Responses
  • Feature: One year later: Wave holds promise, needs killer client | AFK-Time
    Jun 8, 2010

    [...] several uses of collaborating with Wave, including using Wave to translate Latin poems or manage a technology conference. Our own Jon Stokes waxed hopeful that Wave could become a de facto tool for managing role playing [...]

    Feature: One year later: Wave holds promise, needs killer client | AFK-Time Jun 8, 2010
  • [...] ???????? Wave ????????? Wave ????????????????Ars ??? Jon Stokes ?? Wave [...]

  • ????????? Wave???????? : 20g???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
    Jun 12, 2010

    [...] ???????? Wave ????????? Wave ? ????????? ??????Ars ??? Jon Stokes ?? Wave ???????? [...]

    ????????? Wave???????? : 20g???? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? Jun 12, 2010
  • ???? Wave ?????????????(??? - ?IT??
    Jun 14, 2010

    [...] ???????? Wave ????????? Wave ????????????????Ars ??? Jon Stokes ?? Wave [...]

    ???? Wave ?????????????(??? - ?IT?? Jun 14, 2010
  • Google Wave??????
    Jun 14, 2010

    [...] ???????? Wave ????????? Wave ? ????????? ??????Ars ??? Jon Stokes ?? Wave ???????? [...]

    Google Wave?????? Jun 14, 2010
  • ???????
    Jun 26, 2010

    [...] The Debatewise Global Youth panel explored climate change across 100 countries and waves at eComm (Emerging Communication Conference), LCA 2010 conference and HASTAC 2010 helped track speaking sessions. We are using waves in the same [...]

    ??????? Jun 26, 2010
  • Jul 7, 2010

    [...] a climate-change debate in Wave. Some 1000 youths across 100 countries took part. Conferences like eComm, LCA 2010 and HASTAC 2010 used wave for tracking and discussing their sessions. Public waves were [...]

    ??????? ????? Jul 7, 2010
  • google wave????? | ??
    Jul 21, 2010

    [...] ???????? Wave ????????? Wave ????????????????Ars ??? Jon Stokes ?? Wave [...]

    google wave????? | ?? Jul 21, 2010
  • BLOG404
    Oct 5, 2010

    Actually google wave was a better choice as it would have been more productive and private between specific people . Very sad that google wave is shutting down :(

    BLOG404 Oct 5, 2010
  • Google Wave Labs |
    Nov 10, 2010

    [...] Global Youth panel debated climate change across 100 countries, and waves at eComm (Emerging Communication Conference), LCA 2010 conference and HASTAC 2010 helped keep track of speaking [...]

    Google Wave Labs | Nov 10, 2010
  • Mar 11, 2011

    Its now 2011 and Twitter is still going strong. As far as Google Wave, Not as popular.

    Brandon Mar 11, 2011
  • Apr 23, 2011

    thanks a lot admin

    sa?l?k Apr 23, 2011
  • How To Make A Back Channel Light Up Like Clark Griswald’s House
    May 8, 2011

    [...] advice about using Google Wave? (here’s info about using it as [...]

    How To Make A Back Channel Light Up Like Clark Griswald’s House May 8, 2011
  • Jul 16, 2011

    Thanks for taking your time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love to study more on this topic. If it is option, as you gain experience, would you mind updating your site with more information? It’s vastly helpful for me.

    geographic tongue Jul 16, 2011
  • Aug 1, 2011

    I agree with Brandon’s comment. But it is still google and they are a super power. lol

    geographictongue Aug 1, 2011
  • Oct 21, 2011

    Good conversation here about the google and twitter. Im still looking for some lecture capture software, and distance learning software. If anyone knows let me know!

    Brett Rodgers Oct 21, 2011
  • […] Generally backchannels are increasingly seen as augmenting the event for the better though there are arguments against: it diverts the audience’s attention from the speaker and distracts from the experience of presenting and listening, it is potentially alienating and can disinhibit hecklers. Whether welcomed or not they have changed the boundaries and communication dynamics of events and whether spontaneous or encouraged by the event organisers Twitter is an increasingly popular backchannel medium (not so much Google Wave). […]


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