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Twitter Questions from #udgamp10

Posted by Brian Kelly on 5 Sep 2010

Responding to the Remote Audience

During my amplified talk on “What Can We Learn From Amplified Events?” I invited the remote audience, who were watching the live video stream and participating in discussions using the #udgamp10 event tag on Twitter, to announce, with a #eureka tag, if they suddenly understood a concept or idea and wer willing to share this moment with others. I also invited the audience to ask questions using the #qq tag as this would help me, and the event amplifiers who were providing support for the remote audience, to identify questions in the Twitter stream.

A Eureka Moment

There was on #eureka moment, when @hle, a  IT Developer at the Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow, announced:

#eureka #udgamp10 maximise learning rather than maximise pocket

This tweet was published at 11:10:48 on Friday 3 September. I have to admit that I´m not quite sure of the context, but once the Twitter stream has been synchronised with the video I´ll be interested to see what I said just before the remark was posted.

There were no tweets tagged with #qq, which could mean that my talk was clear and unambiguous :-) In reality I know that tagging questions hasn´t taken off (too much complex metadata, some would argue).  However I did look through the Twitter stream and noticed two questions in particular which I feel I should respond to.

How Would You Define An Amplified Event?

@dsegarraCAT, who, it seems, joined Twitter on the day of the seminar, asked for clarification of what an amplified event is:

The basics of amplified event = Videostreaming + tweet. Isn’it it? #udgamp10

This was interesting. In a talk on amplified events I had described how the term had originated and the key characteristics which I had summarised in my entry on Wikipedia. But, in retrospective, I realised that I hadn´t provided a brief definition. So let me see if I can provide a definition which can be summarised in a tweet (or a headline as such pithy summarises used to be referred to).

An amplified event = videostreaming+Twitter.

I think this is a good description of the typical amplified event, in which the speakers´talks are made available to a remote audience, often by video streaming, though this could also include audio streaming.   Use of Twitter is also prevalent, providing the opportunity for discussion by the audience,  engagement with remote participants and the viral effect whereby followers of those tweeting at an event can be drawn into discussions which they may otherwise have been unaware off.

However although this if a good description of a typical amplified event there is a danger of a definition being associated with a particular technology, such as Twitter.  One might also argue that event amplification does not necessarily require IT – event amplification for Harry Potter might involve gazing into a crystal ball or uttering a magic spell. So let´s try to decouple the notion of an amplified event from specific IT application areas.  Another view of an amplified event may be:

At an amplified event the speaker is open for their ideas to be made freely available.

And building on this notion of openness we might go on to add that:

At an amplified event participants will openly discuss ideas with others, whether physically present or not.

How do those attempts at a definition sound?

The Ethical Issues

In addition to her #eureka moment @hle also asked a very pertinent question:
What about ethics? If someone is unlikely to sue you, does it mean it’s right to do it and infringe somone’s privacy? #udgamp10

The context to this question was my suggestion that one needed to take a pragmatic approach to various potential legal concerns. Should one seek permission before reusing or quoting a tweet, for example (as I have done in this post)? I suggested that implementing a rigid policy (“all resources deposited in the institutional repository must be cleared for copyright“) might be counter productive if, for example, it was felt useful to archive conference-related tweets (which, incidentally, was a suggestion felt worthy of considering on the Twitter channel during the seminar). Instead I suggested the need for a risk assessment approach and cited the Oppenheim copyright formula which Professor Charles Oppenheim and myself had published in a paper on “Empowering Users and Institutions: A Risks and Opportunities Framework for Exploiting the Social Web” presented in Florence last December.

My discussions on legal concerns moved on to privacy issues, and I described how event organisers needed to be sensitive to individual concerns.  I mentioned the use of the Quiet Zone which we introduced at the IWMW 2009 event and was also adopted at the Eduserv Symposium earlier this year.  But the complexities of resolving the tensions between openness and privacy are not easily resolved, as I described in a post on OMG! Is That Me On The Screen?

As it is a Saturday night and I am in Girona I´ll not attempt to address this complex issue tonight, but I will try and revisit this issue in a future blog post.

Many thanks for these two fascinating questions during my seminar.  I´d, of course, welcome further comments on this blog.

19 Responses to “Twitter Questions from #udgamp10”

  1. The current stress on Twitter worries me, in particular if event amplification is to move beyond the IT/librarian crowd.

    In the context I was working in, HE law teachers, the vast majority were passive consumers of digital information – by choice. I saw it as the role of the event host/amplifier to attempt to capture informal interactions, perhaps by live blogging, and to add value to the ‘formal’ resources, eg conference papers, session reports by including any informal content, tagging, linking to existing content etc.

    The current focus seems to be on the top five of the bulleted list on the Wikipedia definition, largely dealing with the event on the day. Looking at the list as a continuum would shift the focus to getting more out of the event in the longer term, as part of the audience’s overall ‘body of knowledge’.

    • Kirsty Pitkin said

      Hi Ann

      I agree – it is important not to make an amplified event synonymous with an event with an event that just has a large Twitter conversation attached to it, as this will obviously only be beneficial for certain types of audience. One of the things I have been blogging about is the need to make sure there are channels for conversation that allow all to participate or just watch if they choose, not just the very vocal Twitterati. Integrating these different conversation spaces so they do not become separate silos is my current issue…

      In terms of adding value to the event longer term, I think things like the iTitle tool are moving us towards this, as they are helping us to create more comprehensive resources that capture the conversations in context and help present them in a more accessible way over time. You’re right that the “here and now” does still get more emphasis than the presentation or reinterpretation of resources into something useful that will last.

      Whilst I agree people should be allowed to choose whether to be passive or active consumers of digital information, the most powerful point that Brian made in his presentation, for me, was that more people need to understand that choice and recognise the educational benefits for themselves and others if they contribute. If they then make a conscious decision to be passive (as I admit that I sometimes do myself), that is fine – there are resources for them that enable them to benefit from the conversations. However, they should be able to contribute and not be frightened off by the emphasis on Twitter.

      I still see the part of role of the event amplifier as one that involves capturing and curating formal and informal resources and conversations, as you describe, but there is more emphasis now on getting people actively involved and bringing them into the event from the outside. Twitter is an easy way of doing this, but you’re right, we need to separate out this aim from the technology if it is going to be of use beyond the currently highly Twitterate IT/Librarian communities ;-)

      • Ann Priestley said

        Interested in your point that “people need to understand that choice and recognise the educational benefits for themselves and others if they contribute”.

        Tempted to dig out Bloom’s taxonomy at this point! Passive consumers aka lurkers can take away learning in many different ways, both digital and in RL. To be an amplified as opposed to hybrid event perhaps need to move a step further away from conversation to active curation – or maybe that is Event Amplification 2.0…

      • Hi Ann
        I´m interested in your distinction between an ´amplifed´and a ´hybrid´ event. @andypowe11 mentioned such distinctions on Twitter last night. What are trhe deifferences?

      • Ann Priestley said

        I have a spooky feeling I’ve internalised Andy’s term. Could a hybrid event be where the event is streamed, but where the stream is not ‘managed’ in any way, ie the Twitter backchannel operates in the wild.

    • Kirsty Pitkin said

      Hybrid is the term that commercial event organisers seem more comfortable with – particularly when charging for access! Although looking at the Wikipedia entry it is difficult to see where we might draw the line between a hybrid and an amplified event.

      Ann – I absolutely agree that lurkers can take away learning in different ways :-) I was most often a lurker myself in the conversations at uni. I think we will increasing move towards active curation, but with many audiences the first step is to encourage people to understand and make an informed decision whether to participate in the conversation and share their notes using these tools so there is something to curate. You’re right that we maybe also need to look at the longer term community activities that can be associated with amplifying an event that form part of the processing and assimilation of the event’s content into the audience’s body of knowledge if we want to get a full picture of the long tale of an amplified event. At the moment we are just looking at the logistics of the event itself in time to find ways of giving it the best chance at a longer life.

  2. […] published by Marieke Guy, Ann Priestly, Jordi Poater and Miquel Duran reacting to the talk, whilst Brian himself blogged to answer some of the questions from the remote audience that he was unable to address at the […]

  3. PeteJ said

    Is an “amplified” event necessarily an “open” event? Could an event be “amplified” but still “closed” or “semi-closed”? e.g. remote participation (or some aspects of it?) could be limited to a paying remote audience?

    • Thanks for the question. My talk addressed the simplest case, in which engagement is open to all using freely available tools (Twitter, the livestreaming video, slides on Slideshare, etc.) I did mention the business models for funding event amplification – and paying to access the video stream is one model. In addition to the costs, there is also the question about being closed to a trusted sudience if you want to be more open. Or a talk could be closed becaue of a speaker´s shyness, for example SO yes, an amplified event event could be closed or partly closed.

      • PeteJ said

        Right, that’s what I expected, so I think that means you probably need to decouple your proposed definition(s) above from the notions of “open” and “freely available”?

      • Thanks for the comment Pete.

        How about this slightly modified attempt at a definition:

        At an amplified event the speaker is open for their ideas to be made freely available within an appropriate context.

        The appropriate context´ can include personal, organisation, environment and cultural factors.

    • Kirsty Pitkin said

      Hi Pete

      Following on from what Brian has just said, I have been doing some work in the commercial sector that delivers exactly this – charging people to attend online and therefore get all of the same resources and interaction/conversational facilities within a closed environment. You are then effectively narrowcasting the event to a specific audience, which makes many speakers more comfortable, but also gives the conference organiser an opportunity to increase their audience, revenue and the life of their event. Open event amplification and semi-open (restricting access to a live video stream) is easier since there are lots of tools out there, whereas developing tools that can sit behind a pay wall is obviously more difficult, depending how much privacy you want to offer your speakers. See here for an example of what we’ve been doing (bearing in mind that the audience for this particular event is not expected to tweet!)

      • PeteJ said

        Thanks, and, yes, good point that different tools may be appropriate/required for the different flavours of amplification.

      • Ann Priestley said

        Nice! Is there any mileage in differentiating informal and formal amplification?

        Informal – most likely free at point of use, open amplification via the Twitter backchannel and streaming, conversation archived via the use of preservation tools.

        Formal – chargeable, probably closed narrowcasting with increased levels of curation, post-event resource creation.

      • Hi Ann
        Interesting discussion.
        I had previously distinguished between official and unofficial event amplifiers. As Kisrty and I have discussed the official amplifier will have a neutral voice, with be reponrting continuously and will help to support the remote audience (e.g. reporting on problems such as sund levels, etc).
        The unofficial amplifier may tweet for their own purposes, but gain benefits in the accopmanying discussions which can take place around an open (or semi-open) environment, as opposed to simply keeping notes in Notepad.
        How does that categorisation relate to your suggestiom?

      • Ann Priestley said

        Is an unofficial amplifier a participant, whether remote or present?

      • Kirsty Pitkin said

        The unofficial amplifier may be an amplified individual who happens to be in the audience :-)

  4. Sorry… I’m late to this.

    I think your proposed definitiosn of ‘amplified event’ mix up two things in a way that isn’t helpful.

    Events can be f2f, virtual, or hybrid depending on whether everyone is in the same physical room, or everyone is attending online, or there is a mix of both. Typically, many previously f2f events are now hybrid, since the organisers choose to stream a video of all the talks to a wider virtual audience.

    Amplification can apply to any of these IMHO. I can amplify a virtual event using Twitter or Facebook in exactly the same way as I can for f2f events. Simply streaming an event, on its own, is not amplifying it – at least, I would suggest that it should increasingly not be considered as ‘amplification’ as the use of streaming becomes more and more the expected norm.

    So what is an amplified event?

    Where social media is used to extend the reach and impact of an event beyond the intended/initial/primary audience.


  5. […] could be argued that both hybrid and virtual events can also be amplified events, as amplification is simply a […]

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