Twitter as Social Chat
At both DevLearn and TechKnowledge, we created a hashtag and created a specific Twitter account that was the hub. Using TweetLater and GroupTweet anyone who sent a direct message to the hub account then broadcast to everyone following that account. We also encouraged everyone to put in the hashtag. Through twitter search you can see the various conversations going on. DevLearn was more successful because of the free Wifi. You can find various relevant posts via Twitter at DevLearn.
The overall effect is a nice backchannel, constant conversation with attendees.
There is also an interesting effect that people who are not attending still hear quite a bit about the conference and have some level of tangential participation. There's also a bit of risk as exemplified by - TechKnowledge09 - Another Conference that Missed the Social Opportunity. I think there's a tendency to overemphasize negative comments coming through the twitter stream. Take a look at the Twitter Search for TK09 for a more balanced view.
TweetLater as Planning Tool
For every presentation, I spend a few minutes making sure I have a sense of my timing. What do I need to cover by what point. For my keynote at TechKnowledge, I did something a little different to plan out my presentation - and provide value to the audience (or at least part of the audience).
I went into TweetLater and set up a series of tweets that represented each point in time and I included a link to roughly the relevant content from my blog or other sources. It was nice to see it laid out as follows in TweetLater (the picture below represents after they had all been published).
I found that I tweaked the times a bit and it would be nice if TweetLater had an easier way to do this. But, it was cool to have this engage with anyone on twitter during the presentation. I had lots of positive feedback in the halls after. A few good tweets about it during the session such as: