My friend Trent posted last week, “[m]eeting organizer Protip: select a location that gets cell phone service.”.
I am fairly certain I disagree. I disagree with Joel Spolsky on this, too.
If you are organizing a meeting, conference, or the like, there should ONLY be connectivity if you want your attenders to ignore the meeting – whether they ignore it by live-tweeting, or by playing Angry Birds, having access to the internet (or your cell phone) during meetings is bound to end poorly.
If you’re 100% OK with attendees missing >90% of what is said/shared/taught, then go ahead and ensure connectivity. If the purpose of the event is primarily a networking and socialization one, and the presentation content is only to help enable those other two activities, then by all means ensure your attendees can get online.
But if your intent is for attendees to remember what they hear and use it later, you’re far better off ensuring they cannot get online easily (if at all).