The organizer of medical meetings in Milan recently made an appeal (tongue-in-cheek, it would appear) to attendees to avoid status updates and mindless backchannel banter.
The social side of any conference is important, and Twitter, being part of the social media, will naturally show that side. There is, however, a danger that the orchestra’s symphony will be drowned out by foot-shuffling, program brandishing, and a general clucking and chattering.
(Personally, I attend medical meetings with the specific intent to cluck and chatter)
All clucking aside, it raises an interesting question about how much organizers should meddle with meeting dialog.
- You can’t control the conversation. And organizers of every medical meeting should meddle as little with possible with attendee dialog. It can be joined and facilitated, but not controlled.
- It isn’t your conversation (or your hashtag). Medical meetings exist to serve doctors, not organizers or the interests of society mucky mucks. I might suggest that if the only thing attendees discuss is their lunch, the program needs an overhaul.
- Twitter has lots of potential uses. These uses range from curation and filtering to communication and ambient social monitoring. Everyone uses Twitter differently. Like the author, I dislike status/location updates. But at a meeting they can be remarkably helpful. And to suggest that a beautifully democratized social tool should be limited in some capacity based on the bias of someone in charge is concerning.
Medicine has done enough to create a stifling culture of permission. We don’t need our meeting dialog subjected to legislation.
What say you?
h/t to the unflappable AnnMarie Cunningham, master curator for all things #meded, and the Milan organizer who made me think. The post was slightly modified at 2pm CST to reflect the writer’s intentions.