This week’s LMA conference in Denver has been notable for many things, not the least of which was the incredible spike in attendance. Over 800 marketing professionals swarmed the venue this week, as compared to the 500 or so who attended last year’s conference.

For many of us who couldn’t make it to the conference this year, it was the explosive growth in the use of Twitter that was most fascinating. From right inside the conference room, dozens of attendees posted tweets in real time, sharing what was happening and what was being said, from the announcements of the “Your Honor” awards to descriptions of the slides being used by the presenters.

While it must have been annoying for the speakers and panelists to see all these people in the audience with their heads down, pecking away at their smartphones, for those of us observing from thousands of miles away it was pretty cool to get the play by play. To follow along, all you had to do was set up and save a Twitter search using any combination of the hashtags #lma, #lma10 or #lmasocial, and voila!: an almost-live feed from the main and breakout sessions.

However, as my colleage Sonny Cohen pointed out, much of the tweeting was reportage at best, repetition at worst. Every time someone tweeted something, a dozen other people re-tweeted that same message, forcing one to scan quickly through piles of… well, piles of stuff in order to glean some very salient points.

In one of his tweets, Sonny made this request: “Tweeters: consider[] going the extra mile and adding opinion and not merely regurgitation of speakers. What do YOU think?” In essence, he was pointing out that those of us using Twitter to participate in the conference weren’t making full use of the tool’s potential for two-way communication.

(My suggestion for next year is that a few people be assigned the task of reporting, using agreed-upon hashtags, and that everyone else limit their comments to new, add-on or expanded ideas. It’s like running an efficient meeting — after a while, you have to ask people whose hands are raised, “Do you have something new to say, or do you simply want to express your support for a point that has already been made? If it’s the latter, thank you — and let’s move on.” All said very politely, of course…)

Sonny’s request got me to thinking: How often do we, in our various communications with clients — whether through newsletters, practice group descriptions or blogs — spend our time talking at our audience rather than with our audience? And do we risk oversaturation when we send post after announcement after release about relatively minor things that most people are already aware of?

It’s a fair question, and it’s not a new debate: quality vs. quantity. I think I can safely say that I come down on the side of quality. Sure, during periods of great activity or breaking news, quantity is absolutely appropriate. But in the day-to-day world of communications give-and-take, isn’t it better to keep people wanting more?

Advertisements