Citrix Synergy Keynote, Attention Span And “the Twitter Effect”

May 9, 2009

Today was the keynote kickoff for Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas. First was the presentation by Garr Reynolds, a fascinating speaker who is versed in Zen philosophy and Japanese culture and the author/creator of  Presentation Zen. Garr provided a great perspective on applying the Zen concepts of Beginners Mind, Openness and Nakedness to technology and business- I highly recommend you watch the link.

Throughout this presentation, and the keynotes that followed by John Gantz of IDC and Mark Templeton CEO of Citrix , myself and several colleagues were all actively commenting and reporting on the events via Twitter, my feed is showing to right on this page. Old enough to have grown up with computers but on the old side for social media, I do use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family and Twitter to microblog to my tech/business community niche, but not quite like a teenager or 20 something does…

I normally Tweet about once a day but today I was surrounded by the iPhones of Joe Shonk on one side and Gus Pinto on the other, and, watching the Tweets by Brian Madden, Gabe Knuth, Jason Conger and other great community people, I was inspired to “full on” Tweet throughout the event to the #citrixsynergy hash code on Twitter.

It was a fascinating experience. I am usually the one in the room who closes the laptop, focuses on the speaker and fully engages, you know, old school where you actually pay attention to what is going on. Instead I became absorbed in the multi-stream process of listening, reading and posting. In the process I experienced and learned a few interesting things. First I found that I did miss some points and content because of the extreme multi-tasking. This was at first kind of disturbing like how you feel when you get frustrated because you are tired and can’t focus. However, other peoples reports of details, nuances and points that I missed added a different kind of richness and detail. I lost the laser like focus I am used to but gained info and viewpoints (in real time) that I normally do not have access to while in just my own head. Instead of singular focus, it is like being immersed streams of data. You don’t learn bit by bit but through a kind of overload coming in from multiple inputs of information, some live, some texted, some from you, some from others.

While I am not going to change my work habits by spending my days tweeting, I do think that Twitter provides a different mode of learning and communication that is valuable. Think of it as a another “tool in your belt”. I am going to experiment with it some more and find the situations were it works best, would like to hear from you and your thoughts/experiences on the subject.

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