Tweetcasting: the Virtual #CONF Connection

[A special thanks to DEAN MEYERS for guest posting this week, part of the framing for our Q26 discussion at this weeks’ SMCHAT.]

Some INSIGHTS from Dean Meyers

My first involvement as someone actively Twittering (or tweeting) a conference was at Jeff Pulver’s SocComm in February ‘09. The use of the hashtag made it a trending topic, and as Jeff has added the #140Conf (the State of Now) conference to his schedule, his inclusion of “official” Tweeters (usually 25 people or so) has pushed his conferences into Twitter trending topics quickly, often within the top 3 positions. I’ve tweeted while at a conference, watching it live streamed, and just watching the hashtagged stream, often in that last case to ask questions.

I believe the best tweets from conferences come from those who can:

  1. summarize key points quickly-without personal editorializing
  2. prep the audience following the hash tag with other info, as in who is about to speak, their topic, their twitter name
  3. convey the level of involvement, describing engagement by panelists and the audience, acting as our eyes and ears.

So, the basic rule: it’s really about good journalism. That means clear concise tweets, careful use of personal voice rather than overwhelming opinions about each speaker’s content, and focused attention on what’s going on in the room all make for a good tweeter at a conference.

There’s a new a trend of using the hashtag stream within a conference to allow both conversation with the speakers and content added by the audience. Here’s a blog post from a terrific blog about presentations in general. Olivia Mitchell is the source. She’s really offering good insight and raising good questions.

To sum it up: if you choose to “report” from an event to provide twitter coverage, great. If you choose to share your personal experience from a conference, as in telling us how awful the wifi coverage is (a routine problem) or how the panel chair won’t shut up, that makes it a very different experience; it becomes more about the person tweeting rather than the conference. Perhaps a combination of the two might become the new standard, a hybrid way of tweeting from a conference.

But you can be sure there will always be tweets about where to meetup before and afterwards—that’s a part of twitter activity that’s been used at conferences from the getgo.

[You can follow Dean on Twitter @DeanMeistr and check out his blog, which can be accessed via]

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