Now that they’re sweeping out the aisles at the Crown Convention Centre, all that I’m left is memories, screeds of scrawly notes and a heavily annotated programme.
Well, that’s what I would have written before Twitter. Even though I often wonder how many tweets I will see in the second half of my life (too many to contemplate), seeing how tweeting was used at the Connecting Up Australia conference gave me another glimpse of how powerful it can be.
Anyone online at the event could swap notes with others, give feedback, crack jokes, ask questions, and make contact. Those from afar could watch in by following the tag #cu11. I know this happened as I had a couple of messages from New Zealanders listening in asking about specific topics.
Watching tweets gives you a chance to get a sense of what people stand for, their interests and personality. From 140 characters on screen, you can arrange to meet others. Or invite people with a similar interest to meet next to the barista at morning tea (or something similar).
Twitter provides a layer of participation, in ways that passive listening doesn’t allow. During the more tedious parts of the programme (of which there were few) it’s possible to reveal in the twitter back-channel.
Checking my stats, here’s the results (which I’m not sharing to show off, but to give an idea of the impact of tweeting in a setting I don’t find myself in everyday).
- 21 pageviews of my workshop resources
- 82 views of links to resources I shared
- 35 new subscribers to my e-newsletter
Of course, this doesn’t mean anyone actually read them. Nor can the actions people took be directly attributed to what they read n Twitter, as visitors to my website would have seen other ways to read or engage with things I do.
A conference would be no fun if you didn’t have face-to-face spontaneity as well — chatting with people in the queue or over coffee — so I wouldn’t suggest privileging tweeting over real life interaction. It’s a supplement. As @nictatt suggested “put a twitter name, or FB id or even QR code on everyone’s name tags. Another way to connect”.
Of all the thousands of tweets I didn’t see or hear of anything outrageous. Really, truly I think it’s a useful supplement to other ways of connecting at conferences. If you haven’t tried it, you might like to be open to the suggestion if you get the chance.
Here’s the storify record from the Connecting Up conference: