I attended the Lornet Conference last week in Vancouver Canada. While presenters droned on with long lectures and longer powerpoint shows I spent some time observing audience social behaviour. A good 20% of the audience were multitasking (or not listening to the presentation at least) with notebook in lap. Their attention was split between reading and responding to e-mails, posting comments, preparing presentations, composing text and occasionaly glancing up and squinting at the presnter and the display screen on the stage.
is this multitasking? Is it "rude" behaviour? Is it an example of social communication? here's installment 2 - an environmental scan of social software.
Social communication is overlapping – offline and online - as new tools and approaches link the physical world and the electronic world in common experiences, acknowledging that human interaction in the 21st century is comprised of both online and F2F interaction. People engage in face to face conversation at a conference, while they chat online or post to collaborative wikis or personal blogs to inform and interact with an online audience.
But there are a number of challenges concerning the design, development, implementation and adoption of social software. We have a limited body of knowledge about on-line social behaviour, the needs of individual vs. group, privacy issues, and we need more research into the organic nature of social behaviour.