Don’t Tweet During My Keynote

Today was a first for me: a keynote speaker from Apple asked that no one in the audience transmit or record any parts of his keynote. That is, no blogging or tweeting. I was taken aback. What?!

I wonder what could be the purpose of this request. Is it a copyright issue? Is he worried that if I tweet a thought I have during his talk, someone will steal his idea? Is he trying to control social media?

I went to talk to him at the break. He told me that it’s “Apple Policy”. He said that Apple staff rarely do keynotes, so when they do, they don’t want anyone tweeting or blogging. So instead I tweeted about the request.

Others in the session had the same idea:

In the Twitter exchange that followed, Andrew Campbell asked a great question: First, did OPSOA know that the speaker would not allow tweets, and if so, why did they agree? It’s a fair question that deserves follow up.

Steve Wheeler, Plymouth University Professor and edtech guru, recently published a post “Share Trading”  where he talks about the power of freely shared content on the web.  Apple seems to have either missed this concept or simply doesn’t believe in it. It’s a shame, because creating a backchannel through Twitter allows for ideas to be shared with those in the room without disrupting the speaker, and for those outside the room to follow the thinking, even if they can’t make it. I know some who use Twitter during keynotes and workshops as a way to take notes and share them out. I’ve always found it useful and pretty cool.

The irony is that the speaker didn’t even say anything new. Sigh.

Photo Credit: The Daring Librarian via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: The Daring Librarian via Compfight cc


11 Responses to “Don’t Tweet During My Keynote”

  1. Funny you should write about this Sue, as I experienced the same thing recently. In fact, Twitter was blocked during the keynote to ensure that this request was honoured. I actually found that I struggled with listening more, as I wanted to share my thinking (& could share nothing). (Making a connection to students, it was like telling some of them that for this particular activity, they couldn’t use the accommodation that they always use to be successful. For me, that’s reflecting through my tweets (& the conversations that follow.)) I wonder if others in the audience were feeling the same way as I did. And after reading your post, I wonder if we listened to the same speaker.

    1. Hi Aviva – I just heard that happened at Rewired, but I wasn’t there.I’m going to ask some questions.

      1. Thanks Sue! I’d be curious to hear what you find out. We were told that this was part of the negotiations, so it sounds like people knew beforehand. Maybe the speaker himself was enough of a reason to agree to these terms. It was definitely a different situation for me (and others) …


  2. I have noticed a bit less share online lately, and I’ve noticed a few more individuals using information to make money and maximize their position rather than share. This is how it has been in business–ideas are kept quiet so one company can make money on that idea. Even in the schoolhouse, information is sometimes not shared. Now that teachers are competing for best scores and evaluations, information shared might mean that your colleague will do better than you (obviously I don’t agree with that practice). Also at a major conference venue recently, it was almost impossible to access social media without paying a big price which diminished the amount of online share.

    One reason for no tweets could be that an individual wants to tell his own story rather than having many retell the story in their own words. There are probably many other reasons too. You’ve given me something to think about.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Maureen. I truly believe that there have been and always will be those who want to capitalize monetarily on their ideas and others who freely share, as long as attribution is made. I believe in sharing.

  3. At the OPSBA symposium the keynote speaker said he didn’t blog or tweet any content. He explained this as an “economic” consideration. That the content, his ideas, were all he had to sell and if he gave them away for free then he was undermining his own income. “If you want to hear what I think, you have to pay me”.

    Telling others they can’t tweet is a step further, and the fact that Apple can say this and people just do so is interesting. What would happen if you did tweet? What is the consequence? If OPSOA refused to enforce accept that rule would Apple refuse to do the keynote?

    Lots of questions.

    1. I agree, Andrew – lots of questions. One question for me is that if you are doing a keynote at an open conference, can you even control who says or does what about your message? So no more reviews?

  4. Cindy Lee Avatar
    Cindy Lee

    The request was a first for me, too (I think the same speaker was keynote at Rewired). Unfortunately, I think it set the tone for the event and there were very few tweets about the rest of the day/event.

    1. Yes, I’ve heard from a few that were there. What a shame.

  5. I started a response to your blog post but it was so long it ended up being a blog post of its own.

    1. Thanks for continuing the conversation, Lisa. I’m glad I was able to be a catalyst for your thinking and excited to see how much you extended it. I think that once an opinion or ideas are public, whether through a keynote, book or social media post, then the ideas are to be shared. With attribution of course. It was a bizarre experience and not one I would support.

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