Audience attention

I just read some interesting thoughts about banning wifi at conferences. It's a tough problem and I bet it's just going to get worse as people start getting more mobile devices to add to the laptop distraction.

I went to the Mobile Monday last night at Openwave. I haven't been to one in a while and they've gotten really big these days. Kudos to Mike and Russ.

I didn't notice anyone in the audience with laptops out during the presentations, but there were a bunch of people using their phones during the talks (not surprising considering the audience). I'd have to say that Mobile Mondays have the highest beeps per minute emanating from the audience of the tech talks that I attend, though. The sounds ranged from some pretty embarrasing ringtones to the sounds of SMS messages being received to the odd person who left their phone set to beep on every keypress.

It was actually an interesting indicator of how compelling the talk was by how many people started playing with their phones while the speaker was still talking.

This was in sharp contrast to a tech talk I went to recently that mostly consisted of undergrads, which seemed to have the least amount of interruptions/ambient noise from electronic devices I've seen. I guess their professors have sufficiently conditioned them to put their phones on silent or to use their devices discreetly.

That poses an interesting question. Are younger people who've grown up with mobile phones and GameBoys better at being polite with their personal devices than those that haven't grown up with them? I'll have to start studying this more on the subway and at future tech talks.

Posted on Tue, 7 Jun 2005 12:07 by Seni Sangrujee (2211 day(s) old)

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