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Conference++: Using Web 2.0 tools to maximize your conference experience.
 

Conference++: Using Web 2.0 tools to maximize your conference experience.

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Please be sure to view the speaker notes, as the presentation is pretty meaningless without them! ...

Please be sure to view the speaker notes, as the presentation is pretty meaningless without them!

Given at the Spring 2010 New England Archivist's conference, this presentation outlines how to use Twitter, Doodle, and LinkedIn to get the most (or at least more) out of a conference.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States

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  • I'm going to talk about maximizing a conference through various 2.0 tools, and if I have time at the end I'll throw in a total sidebar. I'll start with a little bit of backstory, and then go through a few ways you can have richer pre-mid-and-post-conference experiences. This is by nooo means comprehensive, nor do I have the time today to provide full-on tutorials for the tools I mention -- but I'm happy to answer questions offline. Any websites I mention are linked on my last slide. My first SAA was overwhelming. First time on the west coast. First archives conference. First serious case of food poisoning. I arrived in San Francisco on Monday, not realizing that conference events didn't really start til Thursday. I knew approximately 6 people in attendance and really had no idea how to network.
  • I basically did a lot of wondering around like a lost puppy.  In March of 09, I finally caved and got a Twitter account in order to tweet the Foundations of Digital Games conference..
  •  ..only to learn that because it was on a boat, internet access was 75 cents a minute. This was nearly enough for me to decide fate didn’t want me on Twitter, but I stuck it out til the Digital Humanities conference in June. Definitely one of the best decisions I've made. DH09 was a fantastic introduction to the concept of a backchannel and introduced me to loads of cool Tweeps, leaving me much better prepared for SAA09.
  • The key to using Twitter is the hash tag. Prefixing a term with a hash, aka pound sign, is a convention created to make it easier to search for tweets surrounding a particular theme. Many conferences will now announce the official hash tag in advance of official events, to ensure uniform use. Usually, this is the conference acronym and year -- ours is #NEASpring10.
  • This is a nifty tool called Twittercamp that provides a handy visualization for a Twitter search -- I've been at conferences that keep Twittercamp or something similar on a big screen by the registration desk so attendees can get a glimpse of the backchannel regardless of whether they're using Twitter.  It's definitely worth checking in on the tag even before a conference, and you don't need an account to do so. There tends to be a flurry of activity during the submission and acceptance period for proposals, and again a few months in advance of the conference as people arrange their travel plans. Pre-conference tweets can include descriptions of proposals, commiseration over rejections, supplementary events (such as the local Humanities and Technology unconference, or THATcamp, that accompanied SAA09 in Austin), and even CFPs. And if you don't believe me.. Well, consider the fact that I wouldn't be here at all if I weren't following an NEA program chair on Twitter. Reading the pre-conference tweets is also a great way to find people with similar (or divergent!) interests to meet up withwhen it's officially in session.  And when the conference is in session is of course where Twitter really shines. How many of you were at the last SAA? And how many of you had exactly one session picked out for every timeslot?   Wow, you guys are way more decisive than I am.  I think I managed to narrow some timeslots down to 3, and then played a game of eeniemeeniemineymo to determine which was the winner. Yanno how sometimes when you sit down in a session, you're still not sure it's the right one? And sometimes you know it's not the right one, but you were so sure it was that you sat in the middle of the front rows and can't exit quietly? Twitter makes all of that a little bit easier.  I ran into the latter session at the Game Developer's Conference last week. I sat in on a session about the Videogame Console Wars that turned out to be a real drag -- I should have gone to the game law Q&A. Lucky for me, someone who did go did a fantastic job of live-tweeting it and even offered to ask questions for those absent. Also lucky for me, she made all of the session tweets searchable by including the speaker's name in every tweet -- so now I have a tiny archive of game law tweets to peruse at my leisure.  In some cases, speakers will keep an eye on tweets during the interactive portion of their presentation. This allows people who aren't physically present or might just be too shy to speak to ask questions when they normally wouldn't. The free culture conference held in DC last month was live-streamed, and session facilitators interspersed tweeted questions with those asked in the room -- I'd say this allowed for a richer variety of questions than might otherwise have been possible.  Twitter is not all serious business, though. Another real advantage is simply
  • people to drink a beer with. Rather than collecting phone numbers or randomly asking people (which can be awkward, let's be honest), you just tweet using the hashtag to say you're at the hotel bar and chances are pret-ty good you'll find a few people to join you. Hint: this is much easier if you use an actual picture of yourself on your profile, at least while the conference is in session. My actual nickname is Sheepy.. But I'd like to think that I bear little resemblance to my barnyard namesakes.  I do want to say a quick word to address the potential disruptiveness of live-tweeting a session. If you're a speaker, don't create an unnatural pause or miss a spoken question because you're twittering. If you're in the audience, turn the sound down and keep the LOLs metaphorical. I know there's been a lot of concern over tweckling lately -- and Twitter certainly offers as much chance for a wide variety of criticism as it does a wide variety of questions and comments. But which is more disruptive -- people venting via text? Or people venting vocally within the room? Jerkwadswill find a way to express their negativity. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.
  • Ok, so you've decided to give Twitter a whirl, and holy cow you suddenly have gazillions of people you want to meet at your next conference! But of course everyone has gazillions of different things they need to so at conferences, so how will you find a time to get together? And once you have a time, how will you decide on the venue?! Doodle polls to the rescue!Doodle is a free polling website that lets you poll for just about anything, and particularly excels at scheduling, with the option for yes-no-maybe and timezone support. Handily, it does not require sign up either to create a poll or to vote, though having an account does make it easier to keep track of polls you've created and voted in. Enter your basic info,
  • select dates and
  • times, and you're good to vote
  • Votes are color coded and the most popular options display their totals in bold, making it easy as pie to find the most majority choice.
  •  I've spent a lot of time talking about Twitter, but there is certainly a lot of blogging of the non-microvariety that happens around conferences. Google Alerts makes it fairly easy to keep track of these. You'll get some false hits, and it will probably miss some, but it sure beats searching manually. If you're a GReader fanatic like me, you can subscribe to Alerts in an RSS feed in it or your RSS reader of choice), but you can also have them emailed.  You can also view Twitter searches in an RSS reader, which can be a way to save them if your reader supports offline viewing. If you have an account, Twitter will give you the link to the feed at the bottom of the navigation column. If you don't, you'll have to construct the URL yourself, but it will still work.
  • Conferences don't end when the sessions are over -- you didn't spend all that time networking to have your new contacts forget you. You need to stay fresh in their minds.. Or at least provide an instant reminder of where and when you met.
  • One potentially overwhelming post-conference task is dealing with all of the new Twitter followers you have, legitimate and not. Going through the follower list provided on Twitter.com can be toootally tedious.
  • Refollow.com provides an easy interface to see who's following you that you are not following back, and allows you to follow, block, or ignore them as you see fit. If you see a bunch of users with the same userpic and variations on a username, block, block, block! Otherwise, I usually figure out if I want to follow someone back by looking at their tweets (Do they only tweet links? Do they tweet tons of personal stuff? Are they at all interesting?), their follower vs following count (ideally about equal for non-celebrities), and how they relate to the rest of my followees.
  • Not everyone uses Twitter, and even if they do, you might meet them by more traditional means -- generally leaving you with a giant pile of business cards to deal with. Yes, writing down where you met the person helps.. But then what? (Business card images from Microsoft Office Templates)
  • I try to sit down within 2 weeks ofa conference and look people up on Linked In. I won't lie.. Linked In is a little clunky.. But in terms of social networking, I like to keep my personal life as separate from my professional life as reasonably possible, so I'm very reluctant to seek or accept Facebook friendships with colleagues. And if you Facebook friend me, you'd better be prepared to hear me vent about missed buses and late night writing, because that's where it all goes!
  • The only difficult part of creating a connection on Linked In is choosing how you know someone -- the rest is simple searching. If you select "Colleague" or "We've done business together," you must specify the company, and it will be added to your profile. I've seen some people just use their own affiliation at the time of the conference. "Other" requires you know the email address your contact registered with. "Friend" isn't quite right. What's perfect is if the conference (or host organization) in question has a group. Fortunately, anyone can create a group, so you can just make one if it doesn't exist.  I would really love to talk about visualization, geolocation, and client software. Unfortunately I'm short on time, so I'm going to end on a convincing note about emergency preparedness:
  • If there's a zombie invasion, the Boston Police will announce it on Twitter. Thank you.

Conference++: Using Web 2.0 tools to maximize your conference experience. Conference++: Using Web 2.0 tools to maximize your conference experience. Presentation Transcript

  • Maximizing the conference experience with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Doodle
    Conference++
    Rachel Donahue
    New England Archivists Spring Meeting
    3/20/2010
  • Conference++
    Before and during
  • Twitter won’t give you an RSS link if you’re not logged in.. But you can game the system:
    http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=
    Place your search term after the =
    If you’re searching a hashtag, use %23 instead of #. If your query has spaces, use %20 instead of the spacebar
  • Conference++
    Aftermath
  • www.refollow.com
  • via Consumerist
    Boston PD Will announce zombie attacks on twitter
  • Links
    www.twitter.com
    www.twapperkeeper.com
    www.linkedin.com
    www.doodle.com
    www.danieldura.com/code/twittercamp
    www.google.com/alerts
    www.refollow.com
    delicious.com/sheepeeh/twitter
  • Contact
    @sheepeeh
    donahrm@umd.edu
    www.rdonahue.net
    This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License