Tweeting a Meeting

One final thought about the 2010 Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting: A big priority this year was to involve AM&P members in general and Annual Meeting attendees in particular with the conference via social media — especially Twitter. As co-chair of the Annual Meeting Committee, I tried to set a good example by tweeting before, during, and after the event. During the actual three days of the Annual Meeting, I tweeted more than I ever have, firing off at least one takeaway — and usually several — from every session I attended. We were running a live Twitter feed of our hashtag in the exhibit hall, which was also the scene of every lunch, coffee break, and other networking event throughout the meeting, so a lot of people saw it, and were motivated to dive into the maelstrom of tweets, replies, and retweets. Some people even created Twitter accounts on the spot so they could join the conversation.

It was a great hands-on learning experience — a true living laboratory for social media — except that at a certain point I found myself listening to speakers not as an attendee who wanted to be educated but as a twitterer who wanted to entertain. I was focusing on sound-bite takeaways that would lend themselves to 140 characters (or fewer, ideally, so people would be encouraged to retweet me). When I realized that, I pulled back from Twitter a bit; instead of instantly tweeting every nugget that came my way, I took old-fashioned handwritten notes, and after a session wrapped up I tweeted whatever seemed tweetable. Maybe I cut myself off from Twitter’s instant feedback loop, but at least for a moment, it’s what I needed to do.

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2 Responses to Tweeting a Meeting

  1. Jeff Hurt says:

    Christopher:

    Interesting dilemma. What if you had used Twitter to take your notes instead of focusing on things you thought other people would find interesting?

    I use Twitter for my note taking during general sessions. Yes, I have to make my notes shorter for each tweet and that's actually a good thing. I'm listening and my brain is putting the information in shorter sentences which the brain likes. Then I go to wthashtag.com after the session and click a link to get all of my notes, and everyone elses tweets from that session, in electronic form. When there are several people tweeting at the same session, I find that the notes are similar to a group study session.

    Using Tweetchat as the 3rd party app to filter all the twitter noise helps tremendously.

    Give it a try next time and see if it feels any different to you.

  2. Christopher Durso says:

    Jeff–

    Something I neglected to emphasize (but that I'm sure was wholly apparent nonetheless) is the extent to which I'm a Twitter neophyte. At AM&P last week, I was tweeting via Twitter's mobile application on my two-year-old BlackBerry, which felt clumsy even to my untrained fingers. Next time I'm out in the field, I'll definitely give your suggestion a try.

    Thanks,
    Chris

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