The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009

By Michael Fienen

Very well said my friend. Very well said.

Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

    • Avatar image
      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.

      Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    #justsayin

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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: https://www.sapweb20.com/blog/powerpoint-twitter-tools

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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: https://www.veen.com/jeff/archives/000996.html In this case, they would have probably needed a great reserve of tact and poise.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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. :-)

    Reply

    • Avatar image
      Ron Says:

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

      Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    Web Designer Newport Says:

    Very interesting. I hadnt heard of Ruckus before.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    technologiez Says:

    Hello…
    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.

    Regards,
    t

    Reply

  • Avatar image
    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.

    Reply

  • Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. The Great Keynote Meltdown - elearnspace says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown traces a failed keynote presentation and the response of the audience: “Presentational etiquette is changing along with audience expectations. Twitter is there, and people are going to use it, for good or for bad”. It seems that a poor keynote presentation caused the audience to go into mild mob mode through the twitter back channel. This type of critique often happens post-presentation (remember pre-realtime web? “I won’t go to that conference again. Poor speakers, badly organized. It was a waste of time”). The prominence of mobile devices and microblogging services surfaces this type of feedback and amplifies it when conference attendees connect to each other. It’s a reality both speakers and organizers need be aware of…and plan for. What’s a conference organizer/keynote presenter to do these days? Create and encourage the use of channels for surfacing criticism and feedback. Hiding failures is not really success. [...]

    2. Wayne State Web Communications Blog » Blog Archive » HighEdWeb 2009 Wrap Up says:

      [...] conference hash tag became a trending topic on twitter and there was a few articles already written on the backlash. If you are interested how bad it really was checkout this Ustream of the [...]

    3. Develop A Social Plan As Power Shifts From Speakers To Audience « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing says:

      [...] week, an audience revolt happened at the Higher Education Conference, you can read about it here, here, here and here.  Although I was miles away, I was watching it unfold in real time on Twitter [...]

    4. There and Back Again, a geek girls tale of #heweb09 » Shelley Keith - geek girl living the technophile life says:

      [...] issues, you can read about it on this blog, and this one, and this one…and then this one and this one too. (Just a note, I’ve read the non-heweb community blogs, but am holding off on the ones [...]

    5. Dave’s Whiteboard » Blog Archive » The keynote and the harshtag says:

      [...] talked at least a bit with four people who attended the keynote.  Michael Fienen’s already discussed it on his own blog, and gives some background suggesting that the choice of [...]

    6. Weekend Reading - ProfHacker.com says:

      [...] What Twitter Hath Wrought (at least for lame presenters): The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009. [...]

    7. sillybean.net » Keynote ruckus at HighEdWeb says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 at .eduGuru [...]

    8. How Speakers Should Integrate Social Into Their Presentation » A Day in the Life of Jonathan “Jon” Gillardi… aka “Johnny Montana” says:

      [...] week, an audience revolt happened at the Higher Education Conference, you can read about it here, here, here and here.  Although I was miles away, I was watching it unfold in real time on Twitter [...]

    9. Emerging Social Software SIG 10/10/2009 « Digital Humanities says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 | .eduGuru [...]

    10. A Newb HighEdWebber’s Perspective On HighEdWeb09 . eric lightbody says:

      [...]  There are two keynote speakers (I won’t write about the great keynote revolt since it has been covered very well already) and the rest are volunteers.  Quite honestly I got a lot more out of my [...]

    11. Media Literacy: Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens - Oct 10 09 « Argument says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown traces a failed keynote presentation and the response of the audience: “Presentational etiquette is changing along with audience expectations. Twitter is there, and people are going to use it, for good or for bad“. [...]

    12. the blog life :: the ongoing story of that web guy in enrollment services » Blog Archive » The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 says:

      [...] quite a ruckus, no pun intended.  Read it yourself.  Now you can read lots of other opinions here, here, here, and here.  What I want to talk about is whether this is really as [...]

    13. Thoughts About “Tweckling” and the Great Keynote Meltdown of Aught-Nine « Safe Digression says:

      [...] One incident this question most definitely references it the Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009. In short, the second keynoter (#notjared) at this year’s HighEdWeb conference in Milwaukee, David Galper of Ruckus Networks, took to the stage with an outdated message, an outmoded presentation and an outstandingly poor understanding of his audience. Thus, the conference back-channel (#) took over (read from 11:59PM on), skewering Galpert mercilessly. I wasn’t there this year, but you can read a good recap (which links to other good recaps) over at .eduGuru. [...]

    14. The Bitterati | Contemporary Learning says:

      [...] look at a more recent case, described as the Great Keynote Meltdown by Michael Fienen of Eduguru.  The keynote speaker at the HighEdWeb conference was David Galper, [...]

    15. Datachondria » Blog Archive » Twitter and Conference Rage says:

      [...] interesting post by Michael Fienen about David Galper’s keynote presentation at a recent HighEdWeb conference — and the [...]

    16. With Twitter, power now shifting to audience during presentations « Peter Osborne says:

      [...] the HigherEdWeb conference in Milwaukee a few weeks ago.  For some context, feel free to click on The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009.  Simply put, the presenter appears to have been ill-prepared, used outdated slides, and was a [...]

    17. Customer Service in the Digital Age - New Media Strategies says:

      [...] During the pre-2005 times, providing poor customer service carries a little risk. The only thing the customer can do was to talk about her experience to her friends and relatives. In order to damage a particular brand, it requires significant, long lasting service failures. But everything change with the arrival of social media. One poor experience can carry a very big consequences. Worse still, it will be talk about instantly, real time. [...]

    18. McGee’s Musings : Learning to love the backchannel says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 | .eduGuru An analysis of the interaction between a keynote presentation that missed the mark for its intended audience and provoked a hostile audience response in the back channel [...]

    19. links for 2009-12-07 says:

      [...] The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 | .eduGuru Rather than a brutal mob assault, was the twitter attack actually a necessary and overdue quality-control mechanism to weed our truly shitty keynotes? (tags: communication presentation twitter conference) [...]

    20. Edublog Nominees: When You Have Some Time… « Darcy Moore’s Blog says:

      [...] Michael Fienen’s The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 [...]

    21. Langwitches Blog » Langwitches Blog Nominated for Edublog Awards 2009 says:

      [...] Michael Fienen’s The Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009 [...]

    22. Secrets to Giving a Two-Way Keynote « WhatTheyDontTeachYouAtStanfordBusinessSchool says:

      [...] week, an audience revolt happened at the Higher Education Conference, you can read about it here, here, here and here.  Although I was miles away, I was watching it unfold in real time on Twitter [...]

    23. Twitter at conferences | John McCrory says:

      [...] for a ban on Twitter at conferences. It’s an issue that’s been bobbing around since the Great Keynote Meltdown at High Ed Web 2009  and danah boyd’s hard time at the Web 2.0 Expo last month. Jaffe [...]

    24. top 2009 lesson: twitter is other people. « InsideTimsHead says:

      [...] with @karinejoly led to presenting my first-ever Webinar. And while HEWeb09 may have included the Great Keynote Meltdown of 2009, it also saw attendees band together to raise funds via a Twitter call when a colleague had her [...]

    25. 3 tips for dealing with a conference backchannel. « InsideTimsHead says:

      [...] including occasionally questioning speaker effectiveness. Certainly nothing on the level of the #heweb09 Great Keynote Meltdown, but some comments centered on consultant presentations that came off as infomercials, speaker [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free