Using Twitter at Events

I attended the Making Links conference in Melbourne, November 2009 and immersed myself in using Twitter during the conference. A hashtag was provided by the conference to enable tweets made by attendees to be categorised. People where then able to use their mobile phones to search for these tweets and see what other people were tweeting.

Looking at these tweets throughout the conference is saw:

  • Social chat between people at the conference
  • People asking questions to the presenter and to other conference attendees
  • Posting of additional information such as website links, references etc.
  • People sending direct messages to each other
  • Conference organisers updating the attendees about social gatherings, room changes etc.
  • I found this quite useful and a very practical use of Twitter. Coming away from this I have done a bit of reading about tweeting and conferences and here below are some more things to consider.

How Twitter can be used at events

Pre-event:

Setting up Twitter prior to an event can provide a mechanism for engagement with attendees before the event. It could be used by organiser to update attendees about details of the event. Interested attendees could start tweeting before the event enabling event organiser a way to capture what people want from the event. It also provides a way for people to start connecting and networking with others participants before the event.

What needs to be done:

  • Set up a Twitter account for the event at http://www.twitter.com
  • Allow people to follow the events Twitter account
  • Set up an event hashtag* and promote this widely on event website, emails etc. The hashtag needs to be used when tweeting about the event. You can go to http://search.Twitter.com and search for the hashtag to be able to see all the comments intended specifically for this group.
  • Collect the Twitter names of event attendees at registration.

.

During an events:

At an event Twitter can be used as a way to further engage attendees and also listen in to what they are saying.

Possible uses of Twitter

  • Provides a way to capture ongoing feedback during event
  • A method for event organisers to ‘listen’ into the attendees conversation. This can allow organisers to respond to what the audience is saying and if necessary to make changes to meet the needs of the group
  • A way to send out updates/information during an event
  • Provides a way for people to network at an event
  • Provides and opportunity for people to send direct message to each other
  • Enables people who are unable to attend the event to follow happenings at the event
  • A method to collect questions for panel discussions. A data projector could be used to project these for attendees to see.

Post event

Twitter can extend the life of an event by providing opportunity for feedback and ways for people to connect after the event.

  • Retweet comments after the conference
  • Collections of feedback after the event

Some things to consider

Not all positing will be positive about the event. You may need to develop strategies of how to respond and make use of this feedback.

Additional reading

Twitter aggregators

* A hashtag is a way to “classify” a tweet to a group or category. Hashtags have the ‘hash’ sign # followed by the unique identifier, called a tag.. For example #webconf. The hashtag just needs to be included anywhere in the tweet. You can go to http://search.Twitter.com and then search for the hashtag to be able to see all the comments intended specifically for this group

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