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Virtual tomatoes

In a post entitled “Still Salad Days for China Web 2.0” Alan Tien of provides some ideas about the conference I attended (and spoke at) last week. I’ll be posting my own thoughts and questions, but wanted to give you this link and mention (1) how such interactivity could undermine PowerPoint, (2) how soon it could get totally out of hand, and (3) how terrifying to think of the audience throwing virtual tomatoes while one is speaking! I am not sure, for example, that the audience understood my story of how I became a board member of the Software & Information Industry Association as a result of having written a negative blog post – it seemed, as I spoke, that there were so many culture-specific aspects to the whole thing that I’m not sure I was explaining it in a way that made sense there – so maybe some of the Chinese Jiwai comments would tell me to move on to something interesting. Here’s an extract from Tien’s post:

I thought the greatest innovation was the use of real-time SMS or IM to keep the audience engaged. Like the CNBlogger 2007 conference, this forum embraced the theme of open collaboration by using, a “twitter-like, on-site interactive platform” where audience members texted in their questions, which were then displayed on the projected screen. I believe this is an innovation all conferences should adopt. Wouldn’t it be great if the audience could rate the speaker real time and mercifully end boring presentations?

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