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Live conference chat

During ASAE & The Center’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, there was a healthy amount of chatter going on through a text-message backchannel set up by Ben Martin of the Certified Association Executive blog. Ben set up what amounted to a cell-phone listserver—where backchannel participants could text message all other participants with their thoughts and opinions during the meeting (and set up face-to-face meetings as well).

On the Logic + Emotion blog, there’s a related idea that I found quite interesting: Allow text messaging as part of a panel format. Blogger David Armano will be hosting a panel discussion where attendees can text message directly to an interactive screen—so that everyone in the room can see the text messages that appear, and the panelists can address questions that the texters submit. Will it lead to chaos? He freely admits that he doesn’t know, but he’s interested in trying something new and finding ways to increase the interactivity of the panel discussion format—certainly worthy goals!



Thanks for the link, Lisa. Here's a link to one of the services that allows you to set up an interactive text messaging screen for free: http://www.msgme.com/c/CampaignToolsText2Screen

Thank you for the link as well, Ben! I had no idea there were free products that could facilitate a panel like this. I appreciate you sharing the resource!

Sweet!! We should have that at the Tech conference!

I think that is a fantastic idea. If texters remain anonymous, it could increase audience input tremendously and give those attendees who would otherwise be too shy to contribute an opportunity to give their valuable opinions and suggestions.

Unfortunately, the lack of accountability could also provide a forum for nonconstructive banter.

Chelsea, you make two great points. I like the idea of the text screen as an option for introverts who might not be comfortable walking up to a microphone ... but might like the possibility of sending a message instead. Face-to-face meetings can be inherently biased toward extroverts, and it's good to give more introverted personalities options too.

And there's always the possibility that someone will abuse an anonymous system, whether it's a live text opportunity at a meeting or posting to a wiki. But I think it's less common that people fear it will be, if that makes sense. And I think it's also relatively self-policing. If someone is posting nonconstructive things to the text screen, I bet other attendees who are invested in using the text screen in a beneficial way will either ignore them or smack them down (textually).

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