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@Ben - I really enjoyed your post, especially "without a preconceived ideal of what perfect must look like was evidence of a profound shift not necessarily just in thinking but in believing and admitting that perfect in not only impossible, it's incorrect (we're not launching missiles). And it certainly isn't human." Bingo. In so many organizations perfect becomes the tone set by the political clique and often the lie is in the assumption itself. Well done.

@Carolyn Ann - I don't think Twitter is in any way a substitute for meeting and getting to know people and developing relationships. It's probably more akin to an appetizer, giving you a taste and flavor or a glimpse into someone's momentary thoughts, a passing bread crumb. It does allow you to extend your reach a little more. I met lots of interesting people face to face from Twitter.

@Rod - it would be interesting to see what would happen if you'd ask meeting attendees to send questions in advance, or to come with questions written down. Sometimes people need to prepare in advance.

@Rachel - I think a presenter needs to be a good conversation facilitators. And here we're recognizing how people use technology. I've been at face to face events and socials where people use Twitter and talk with each other interchangeably. It depends on the conversation. That's not how I use Twitter, I prefer to look a speaker in the eye, but sometimes during a question or discussion, I might want to jot something down or share it.

I think this is very situational. When you have an audience of 1000 people, the way that you take questions (if you do at all) would be very different from a small presentation to 40 people. With a large audience, Twitter may be a great way to compile questions and let the speaker pull out some gems to respond to. With a small group a the speaker may not even need a mic to address the audience, so there should be a low barrier to asking questions without Twitter.

Something else to consider is the speakers style and what they feel comfortable. Some speakers do great adapting their content on the fly in response to audience questions, but clearly not everyone is. If the speaker wants to take questions as the presentation progresses (with or without Twitter) they have to be in control. I've heard many a presentation where a quack in the audience throws out an unrelated question that throws the train off the tracks for everyone else. How the question was asked doesn't really have any relevance to how the speaker handles the question.

I think some speakers thrive on these back channel conversations and others are clearly jarred by it. Not sure there is a clear cut answer to this one.

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