Best Practices: Live Tweeting at a Conference

Open-computers-at-conferenceHave you ever sat in an education session listening contently to the speaker, but you watch out of the corner of your eye a colleague with his face in his phone? Chances are he’s either responding to a work email or he’s live tweeting. Live tweeting education sessions at a conference has steadily increased with the availability of smartphone’s and free conference wi-fi.

Live tweeting can be a great way to keep notes during a session, share information with your peers and colleagues, favorite other live-tweeters for information you may have missed, and network with other live tweeters at the conference. Live tweeting is info-sharing, and it can be very valuable for connecting to other people in other sessions, your own session, and even the speakers. So, if you’re interested in becoming a live tweeter, here’s some simple best practices to follow.

1) Be prepared for a drain in your battery. Live tweeting can be enjoyable, but spend too much time spreading the gospel to the twittersphere and your battery is going to die. Be prepared with a portable charger, enhance your phone with a built in power pack as your phone case, or get there early and scope out a seat by the outlet.

2) Prepare your followers for an avalanche of tweets. Most tweeters are used to getting hit with newsfeed updates every minute, but it’s also nice to warn your followers that you’re about to live tweet a session. For starters, it informs them that they may want to follow along during the session, and secondly, they wont think you’re spamming their newsfeed.

3) Research the speaker ahead of time. If you’re planning to live tweet a session, it’s common courtesy to credit the speaker that is sharing the information with you. Before the session begins, take a minute to find out if the speaker has a twitter handle. If they do, you should use that handle in every tweet about the content. If they don’t, check to see if their company has a twitter handle and use that. If neither the speaker nor their company have a twitter handle make sure you use their name with a hashtag.

4) Use the conference hashtag. Conference hashtags are used to make sure that any shared content is easy to search for. If you want your information to be shared with others, it is common courtesy to include the conference hashtag in any tweet. Also, search the conference hashtag yourself so that you can favorite posts being live tweeted from other sessions. It’s almost like you’re in both sessions at the same time!

5) Use the rule of the period to avoid the reply dilemma. When using a twitter handle at the beginning of a post, make sure you include a “.” before the handle. For example: “.@eventrebels” In the event that you do not include a period, twitter will assume that the post is a reply to the twitter handle. The post will not show up on newsfeeds and will require a user to look up your profile and change the view preference to “tweets and replies” in order to see the post. That defeats the purpose of live tweeting.

6) Sit up close and take lots of photos. Sometimes slides are available after a session and sometimes they are not. For your twitter followers, getting to see a complex or valuable slide with their own eyes can be very beneficial. Twitter limits the amount of characters you can use, but a picture is worth a thousand words! However, nothing is worse than a terrible picture of a slide with a short description that makes you wish you could read the slide. Do your followers a favor and sit close enough to take tweet-worthy pics.

If you follow these simple best practices, you too can become a great conference live tweeter!

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