Why buy the cow…

Last week we had an excellent SMPS education program here in DC about Architecture firms using social media. As with many programs, the event was live-tweeted. During the event, a fellow industry tweeter (not present at the program) sparked a conversation about the intellectual property concerns and the negative revenue impacts of tweetchats and live-tweeting. His points and concerns were that people don’t have to come to events if they are tweeted, and perhaps more importantly, there are copyright concerns when people repurpose a presenter’s info via tweets.

While I respect the position and agree that these are some very valid concerns, I couldn’t disagree more. Here are a few reasons.

1. Watching a movie preview isn’t the same as going to a movie. A stream of one-liners is a teaser and increases interest more than it communicates overall intent/content.

2. Moreover, Twitter is kind of like hearing a bunch of people paraphrasing the movie’s one-liners anyways and interpretation is inevitable when we boil down a slide into 140 characters.

3. If 20 attendees tweet about an #smpsdc event, each with an average of 100 unique followers (assuming that industry tweeters will have some overlap in followers) more than 2,000 people are exposed to interesting content and its association with our chapter. And that number is conservative given that many have thousands of followers.

4. Protocol for tweeting events is pretty simple…at least reference the presenter, event and/or venue. Most folks abide by that, so there isn’t really a concern of “stealing” content.

5. As a writer, presenter and consultant, I would love to have twenty people tweeting about an event that I’m speaking at for two hours. It indirectly ties back to #3 above, but isn’t the exposure and dialogue the whole reason we present?

6. People don’t get CEU’s for following a Twitter stream.

The conference, seminar and panel discussion world has changed significantly due to social media, as well as our understanding of intellectual property. But even by older standards, unless someone is literally recording and posting the conversation and slides during a presentation, there is no cause for concern. It’s no different than having a discussion about a presentation during an intermission or around the water cooler on Monday morning.


  1. Anonymous said:

    actually – while I would say it is true you don't get CEU's for reading someone's tweet of an event… there were recently CEU's offered for a tweet chat through SMPS.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:29 am
  2. Anonymous said:

    You rasie excellent points on why YOU think this practice of disseminating other peoples information via tweets is legal, useful, and productive. In general tweeting is harmless and just a transfer of information in the public domain.
    However, I think before you dismiss the concern of "stealing" content you might want to confer with a legal professional on IP law. What if someone tweeted information that had a disclaimer on the slide? (say a SEC forward looking statement or even third party sourcing of data) The person reading the tweet doesnt get the disclaimer-so who is then at fault in the event of a lawsuit? The tweeter or the presenter? Could a for-profit organization bring a lawsuit against tweeter(s) if they could prove that the tweeting hurt their revenues and therefore caused finanical hardship?
    The legal community is still determining these issues, so i agree that tweeting from events is useful to people who cant be there, caution should be exercised and non-legal professionals should refrain from legal opinions.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm
  3. In my opinion tweeting content is very similar to discussing the content. Therefore if you would not discuss information protected by a disclaimer, you would not tweet about it either.

    What makes Twitter so much different than a casual conversation? Are they not one in the same?

    Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm
  4. Very good points from all!

    Thanks anon#2 for your well stated legal perspective. And yes, for the record, I'm here to offer my advice and opinions, definitely not legal counsel! :-)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

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