The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009

By Michael Fienen

Very well said my friend. Very well said.


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    Drew Says:

    I hadn’t made the Ruckus connection. Memories of jumping thru technical and marketing hoops to setup that service, only to have it tank in two months.


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    Michael Smith Says:

    Great article, Michael. I think it sums it up well. To be sure, there were several people that came to his defense; however, in the same passive-aggressive vein as the harshtag itself. Nobody said the presentation was good, but I and others asked for moderation and thoughtfulness. As harsh as they were, I think the comments that came out were mostly right.

    It will be important for people reviewing the back channel to realize that there was a visual and physical context to every comment made. For example, I made a comment in response to a slide of Mr. T and the A-team — not as a direct jibe against the speaker. Without that context, the phrase “I pity the fool” has an entirely different meaning.

    It will be interesting to watch how people perceive the post-context twitterstream in the next few days.


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      Michael Fienen (author) Says:

      That is an excellent point. There is another angle of context missing from a lot of the tweets that we can’t really recreate now, which matters with respect to a lot of comments that were made.


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    Christian Says:

    Great Serenity reference.
    Oh, and the deconstruction of what happened is very helpful, especially for someone who, like me, could not attend the conference but was amused/amazed/aghast at the backchannel.


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    Mat Houser Says:

    What I actually found interesting about the keynote was that it took about an hour of rambling, difficult to follow presentation to get to the takeaway messages of:
    a) The way students interact with information is changing
    b) social media is gaining traction
    c) institutions need to keep up

    Some attendees may remember another presenter who got best in track with a 20 slide presentation that had some very similar takeaway messages, but was current, engaging, amazingly well presented in just over six minutes and was very well received by the audience.



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    Anonymous Says:

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with the idea that what was said on the back-channel was OK because the presenter was that bad. I agree that it was out-dated material, a canned presentation that was clearly not fit for the audience - that is not the concern I have. My concern is the lack of professionalism by the audience. It felt like a modern-day version of throwing tomatoes at him. Twitter is a public forum, its not the same as sitting through the presentation and complaining to each other about it later. I believe we still need a level of etiquette and courtesy, and what happened on Twitter went a bit too far.


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    Thomas Says:

    I am not in Higher Education but do follow a tweeter that referred to this. Lesson learned from a speaker’s perspective: Remember that scene in the new Miami Vice movie where on their way to see the drug dealer they noticed that all communications were jammed….well a new component to conferences in the future will be to knock down communications in the room. A whole new industry is born to service conferences and for that matter classrooms. Either that or bring your own tweeters or tweeting system-prearranged tweets-to supplement the presentation.


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    Timo Elliott Says:

    I’m hoping that Twitter will be the best invention yet to force us all to give better presentations!

    In the meantime, there’s no longer any need for the presenter to be the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on — here are some free tools that let anybody embed live Twitter feeds directly into their PowerPoint slides:


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    Matt Says:

    My sense (having only caught the first few minutes plus tsand’s video) was that a god part of the frustration came from the fact that *anyone in the room* could have given a better presentation on the topic. If that isn’t a reason for some public venting, the probably we should never comment negatively on any presentation, ever.

    By the way, I like to imagine what things would have been like with a social media ombudsperson standing on stage next to him, representing the audience, as Jeff Veen suggests: In this case, they would have probably needed a great reserve of tact and poise.


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    Dave Ferguson Says:

    Thanks for including my post, and for talking with me and providing a bit of the context you’ve included here.

    I’ve included some analysis of the keynote tweets along with lessons I found for myself in a new post, The keynote and the harshtag.

    Matt’s comment underscores the value of someone acting as tweet wrangler / link jockey for the speaker — I am positive *I* could not present and keep with with a stream, but that’s something you could manage with a collaborator.


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    Susan Says:

    Great post! I agree with your statement about the conference committee. They work too hard for something like this (either on Galper or the backchannel posters’ parts) to ruin the reputation of such a great conference.

    Thank you for taking the time to give background on the situation, as many people that weren’t there, had no context of the slides or what he was saying, just think we’re a bunch of tools. :-)


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      Ron Says:

      Thanks for this post. People should really give it a thought.


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    Steve Says:

    “…but I think the event itself was not uncalled for and is an important example that audiences are no longer passive. You can’t just cram what you want down their throats without consequence.”

    That is kind crap isn’t it? Audiences were never passive. Put on a bad show to a paying audience and you may get jeered or heckled or have tomatoes thrown at you if old movies are to be trusted. Seriously, just because it is in a twitter “backchannel” doesn’t make it new and groundbreaking behavior. It is as old as could be. You guys heckled a presenter, maybe acted a bit like jerks, but you think he deserved it.


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    Web Designer Newport Says:

    Very interesting. I hadnt heard of Ruckus before.


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    rgJessica Says:

    Different people that are willing to get high grades search for a trustworthy paper writing service to purchase their term paper format at. The same things we do as well.


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    Citation Machine Says:

    I’d say that in the future, the presenter/audience dynamic will change. No longer is the audience passively listening to a presentation. In the future, they will be participants. Which is amazing and scary at the same time. It will certainly make presentations better. What does this mean for all of us


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    technologiez Says:

    That’s pretty good Michael and really a fantastic post.But the truth is that I’ve heard 1st time about “RUCKUS”.It’s really interesting.
    And a bundle of thanks for sharing it.



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    apartment Says:

    There’s no shortage of people out there these days with impressive looking résumés and credentials, but that means a lot less than it used to. A fast preview of this guy’s Powerpoint would have revealed the potential trouble to come pretty easily.


  • Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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