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Friday, January 30, 2009

Twitter Conference Ideas

Twitter has become a pretty great tool to help with socializing at conferences. Here are a few of the things we've been doing

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:
writetechnology: I like that @tonykarrer scheduled tweets (I assume) to appear during his keynote at #tk09. Great use of the Twitter stream!

mik3yv: @writetechnology it kind of tripped me out that I was reading tweets of the concepts and principles right after he talked about them #tk09

When I was sitting down with Brent Schlenker, he suggested that we should all be using Tweet Later to plan out our conference schedule and set up TweetLater to send messages to ourselves and to others about what we were planning to do. It would be really awesome if you could forward your calendar reminders over to twitter at the press of a key. But, in the short run, it might make sense to set up a similar kind of series of activities as listed above based on the conference program.


Amanda Crowe said...

Very good article Tony. Twitter is growing all over the world and thousands of people are joining on a daily basis. I've tried to love Twitter. I really have.

B Berends said...

We just build this free little Twitter web app which is very handy during any conference! It enables you to save/print tweets with specific #keywords or any other keyword for that matter. It builds a bridge between the old and new media :o) Ideal also for journalists who want to trace a news story, you can search any keyword(s) and get a print friendly version of all the specific tweets!

Rebeca said...

I just became a twitter user before 1 month. I am unknown about so much twitter application. Can any one tell me about retweet.