The beat I am most interested in covering is health. Partly out of nerdy curiosity, partly out of concern that one of my family members might I have dementia, I attended a memory disorders panel this morning. The event included presentations by Alzheimer’s support organizations, a physician, researchers and a brief appearance by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, whose mother had Alzheimer’s.
I was tapping away on my phone when my mom leaned over and asked, “What are you doing?” “Tweeting,” I told her. We were sitting in the back so I thought I would take the opportunity to practice live tweeting. I was never trained on how to do it, so I just carefully listened for key facts or interesting tidbits that I could successfully condense to 140 characters.
By the end, I had sent out nine tweets from my Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Captivate. Thankfully, my touch-screen phone allowed me to type almost silently. If I had been using a keypad then I would have been really noisy.
My advice to others hoping to live-tweet a quiet event like a panel, academic presentation, or featured speaker is to make sure their phone/equipment is quiet and be prepared to multitask. Sometimes the speaker would move on to a new point while I was still trying to get my thought formulated for the character limit. Also, find an event where you can practice without the pressure of an editor, deadlines or journalistic obligation.
I was worried how my actions might be perceived, but because we ended up with seats in the back, the speakers couldn’t see me and neither could most of the audience members. Any advice on how to achieve live tweeting without looking like a distracted, disinterested, rude audience member?