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.