Tweet Tweet! 7 conference tweeting tips for delegates

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This is the second instalment in a series of blog posts regarding live tweeting from alcohol and other drugs conferences.  In the first post of this series I identified the potential advantages that live tweeting conferences may confer in regards to knowledge sharing within the alcohol and other drugs sector.  In this article I will explore some of the very practical considerations required when tweeting live from a conference.

1.  Tweet early

Make sure that in the days leading up to the conference you post some tweets letting followers know that you will be attending the conference and will be live tweeting.  Include the conference hashtag in these tweets as well as a link to the conference website if available.  By tweeting early in this manner you provide the opportunity for any of your Twitter followers to plan to follow your tweets from the conference.

2. Be prepared

I have a preconference ritual of charging and checking the device/s that I intend to tweet from.  But I always take a charger just in case. I also ensure that keystroke noises on my devices are set to silent.  Many people find the constant ‘pebble clacking’ noise of keystrokes on the iPad or iPhone very distracting.

3. Use an app

It has to be said that the native Twitter apps and website are not ideal for live tweeting.  I prefer to use one of a range of applications that enable you to better organise and monitor multiple Twitter timelines.  Currently I most often utilise the HootSuite application for the iPad.  This app allows me to view not only the timeline for the conference hashtag but also timelines for mentions of my account and direct messages, all at the same time.

4. Be courteous

I teach my children that social networks are just like any physical public space and therefore we need to behave accordingly.  Before critiquing a presenters work via Twitter, ask yourself is this something I would be prepared to say in public, is this something I would be prepared to say to the presenters face.

5. A formula for live conference tweeting

One of the biggest challenges regarding live conference tweeting is capturing reams of information coming at you at the rate of speech and conveying this in a stream of posts of 140 characters or less.  Each post should ideally contain both the conference hashtag as well as some form of attribution, identifying who has imparted the information in the first place.  Over the course of time I have developed a formulaic practice that has helped me to increase the speed by which I can record and tweet information.

  • Whenever a new presenter commences speaking I introduce them to my twitter audience (e.g. Prof. Citizen about to speak about injecting practices #AODconf)
  •  I then copy both the last name of the presenter and the conference hashtag onto my clipboard (e.g. Citizen #AODconf)
  •  I then simply paste this content into a new tweet saving me the time of having to repeatedly having to type the conference hashtag and presenters name. (e.g. We need to continue to research injecting practices in different cultures – Citizen #AODconf )

6. If your device has a camera then use it

Presenters sometimes out a great amount of effort into their slides.  The may present a fantastic quote that you cannot fit into a tweet or it may be a great infographic or other visual representation of what they are talking about.  Capturing this in a photograph and tweeting it can enhance your followers experience of the conference twitter timeline.

7.  Talk to people

The key word in social networks is social, so don’t forget to talk to people. Encourage your audience to ask questions and remember to ask questions of other delegates tweeting from the conference.

Next time

In the next instalment of the Tweet Tweet series I’ll explore what conference presenters can do to make their presentations Twitter friendly.

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