It's so great when an online article I'm reading in bed grabs me so much that I jump up ready to blog about it? That just happened after a tweet by @WriteOnTrack_L led me to its new blog post, "The Value of Twitter at Conferences."

The tweet caught my eye because it referenced Tim Cigelske, who manages Marquette University's social media accounts. The writer, Lorna Sixsmith, shares several reasons why she, Cigelske and others support tweeting at conferences. Among them: relaxing the audience; increasing its size; creating more engagement with the speaker or panelists; fostering greater attention from those tweeting, and providing instant feedback via the hashtag.

Sixsmith, a copywriter and social media consultant, also offers other blog posts I think would help my journalism students and journalism educators elsewhere. In "The Power of the Hashtag," she writes about how a targeted word after the # symbol can help summarize an event, bring attention to a particular topic and unite tweeters. I really like that Sixsmith uses tweets with hashtags to help keep notes. "140 characters is perfect for note taking," she writes.

Next we have "Why Tweet at Conferences." Sixsmith discusses in this post the benefits for organizers (free publicity, instant feedback, generate interest, keep attendees happy) and attendees (networking, icebreaking, concentrating, sensitizing, sharing and, my favorite, gaining more followers). There's also "How to Tweet at Conferences," in which Sixsmith gives both sides of the lectern "some tips on how to get it right." They include ensuring the hashtag is visible, wifi is available and working, and speakers' Twitter usernames are given.

Finally, back to Cigelske. Sixsmith tweeted that he inspired her latest post with his compelling "Dealing With a Distracted Audience" article in the July edition of Toastmaster magazine. I wish more speakers in academe would heed the subhead: "Don't be put off by those who text or tweet when you speak." Anyway, Cigelske urges organizers and speakers to embrace live tweeting. "When audiences are involved, they are more engaged," he writes. "You want audiences to become companions as you lead them to the final destination or purpose of your speech."

I couldn't agree more. Many thanks to Sixsmith and Cigelske for their thoughtful offerings.


07/17/2012 2:47pm

Many thanks - I really wasn't expecting a whole post devoted by my blog posts, one of which was inspired by Tim. Much appreciated and thank you so much for sharing it.
All the best, Lorna

Ben Greene
08/30/2012 10:40am

I'm not a huge fan of Twitter, and I'm not afraid to admit it. However, one thing I really like the idea of the hashtag for all the reasons Sixsmith mentioned. It's the most convenient way to connect with people all over the globe to talk about a similar topic and share input.

Ryan Ellerbusch
08/30/2012 4:20pm

Twitter has made me a better writer and a more efficient note taker. It is a great way to engage with an audience. However, the only drawback thus far that I have experienced with Twitter is that sometimes during conferences or speeches, one tends to focus on tweeting too much rather than fully listening, engaging and enjoying the conversation of the speaker.

Courtney Perry
09/03/2012 3:33pm

"140 characters is perfect for note taking," I never thought of tweeting in that way. It makes a ton of sense, though. Who would have thought Twitter would teach us how to be better note takers?

Ethan Niquet
09/03/2012 11:31pm

Courtney, I was thinking the exact same thing. I also like Sixsmith's point linking Twitter to our organization skills. Twitter teaches us to condense our thoughts while being thorough simultaneously. The instant feedback is a benefit too, although some people complained about Twitter relaying the Olympic results too quickly before they were able to watch the events on television.

David Tukesbrey
09/04/2012 8:48pm

I agree with Ben. I love the hashtag, but when people go Twitter-overboard and tweet about the regular "everyday" things, it can get incredibly annoying. I enjoy actually getting news and information on Twitter, but it's a tool that I think people need to develop better. When it comes to being better with AP style on Twitter, I find it hard to believe. When you have 140 characters, it's hard (not impossible) but hard to use perfect style because it takes away from the message. One might argue that if it's not in AP style, the message's credibility might already be at a disadvantage, but I don't agree with those in that camp. It's difficult to find that happy medium.

Jacob Born
09/05/2012 12:10am

Tweets having only 140 really forces people to choose their words carefully and to say as little words as possible while still getting the point across. So for live tweeting, you tweets could tell a 500 word story in only 100, and both would have the same storyline. It's really amazing how powerful Twitter can be for a journalist.

Casby Bias
09/05/2012 8:31am

Twitter does make it easier for note taking. And the tips for “How to Tweet at Conferences” were very helpful reminders. I followed the hashtag tip and mentioned those who I did or did not follow, and I’ve been retweeted by two companies over the summer.


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply