Does twitter make you absent?

The IBP awards last week, which recognise the best in the construction and property press, were a really enjoyable occasion. I should declare an interest, since I judged two of the categories. The guest speaker was Daniel Moylan who is now Boris Johnson’s airport expert, arguing for a single hub airport to the east of London. He was an ideal after dinner speaker, passionate about his subject but also very funny, whether dissing the current disaggregated nature of London’s airport provision, saying ‘bring it on’ to any more architects who want to punt airport ideas, or confessing that ‘I can’t really see the point of the countryside’.

There was great jubilation among the winners of the awards – a particularly good harvest by Building, Property Week and The Architects’ Journal – and some disappointment from those who were not successful.

In a taxi on the way home I caught up with what those present had been saying on Twitter. They were generally pithy, relevant, sometimes funny and sometimes moving. But I wondered if they were truly present? I did not tweet from the event because I wanted to chat, cheer and enjoy the atmosphere and it really doesn’t seem possible to do both.

Years ago I used to feel that one could either experience a holiday or photograph it but not both. Is the same now true of Twitter? And who exactly follows those live tweets? I don;t know the answer but I think the question is important.







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