“Just a minute,” I told a 4-H meeting as I tapped a message on my phone.
“If you would quit texting, we wouldn’t have to wait,” my 16-year-old daughter (who was running the meeting) complained.
“I’m not texting. I’m tweeting.” I explained.
That inspired me to explain what I tap on my phone during the meeting. It’s not just texting.
My phone is my calendar, pencil, and paper. I use it to take notes during the meeting. If it’s during a live presentation, I’ll probably tweet those notes so I can go back to them later. My attention span is limited, and having to focus on a talk intensely enough to absorb it and re-interpret it into 140 character tweets makes me focus better on the subject at hand.
When my daughter admonished me, I was corresponding with Robby Slaughter, author of a recent book on Failure: The Secret to Success. He gave an example of a failure game to try, which we used as recreation during our meeting. After we did it, I was tweeting him feedback on how the game went. (It went well.)
Where could I listen to a meeting and correspond in real time with an author of a book whose idea I have just tried in a meeting with 27 students? Twitter!
If I’m in a meeting and you need pronto information, I’ll use my phone to search for it. If we set a meeting, I’ll enter it into my calendar. If there is only 1 copy of a handout, I’ll take a photo of it with my phone and let someone else have the paper copy. I can take photos of the experiment or other pertinent info to either post online, email, or refer to later.
If I can’t find it on google, I’ll probably tweet out to my lifeline of hundreds of followers and ask them if they can help me find the right answer.
If I’m at a meeting and you see me punching quickly into my phone, don’t automatically assume I am zoned out, living more inside the phone than I am in the real world. It could very well be I’m using that phone as my personal transporter, to pull the rest of the world into our meeting so we can dialogue in new ways, with new people, in ways we never imagined.
Have phone, will tweet.