Acting as an amplifier
Whenever I am fortunate enough to attend an event, I know there are others who may be interested but were unable to attend, and often those who may not have even been aware of the event but could gain value from it.
I always try to blog the main points from events I have attended (usually after the event rather than live blogging), and in the last couple of years I have also tweeted during a number of events. I have even been an official tweeter at Middlemash last year, and held the grand title of “Twitter Officer” the New Professionals Conference earlier this year. I blogged previously about my experiences at New Professionals Conference 2010, but to summarise here are some of the main points to consider when amplifying an event as an attendee.
- Speak to the conference organisers to see if there is a policy about sharing the event – sometimes there may be topics that the organisers or a speaker do not want to go further than the event. This is rare, but always worth checking.
- Find out if there is a particular hashtag for the event (and if not, create one) – many events now have hashtags set up for anyone tweeting or blogging the event. If you can’t find one, make one up – check it’s not being used by another event first (a quick search on Twitter is usually sufficient) and try to keep it short. Make sure you use the tag to keep everything related to the event in one place.
- If you are tweeting, check that there is a TwapperKeeper archive (again, if not, create one) – not only does TwapperKeeper archive all the tweets for you, it can also be used to get statistics through Summarizr. This is really interesting and can tell you a lot about the tweets from the archive, including links to the top tweeted URLs using the hashtag – see this year’s LILAC conference (#lilac2010) statistics for example.
- If you want to save the links that you tweet automatically, you could use Packrati.us which will add any URLs you tweet to your delicious account using any tags in the tweet as tags in Delicious. (Disclaimer: I haven’t actually tried this yet as I don’t want all the links I tweet to be added to delicious).
- If you are tweeting from an event, let your followers know in advance – it’s useful to share the details of the event you are at (helps to further amplify the event too if you tweet a link to the website/livestream) and let them know that you will be tweeting (many Twitter clients now have an option to hide tweets which people may wish to use if they are not interested in that particular event)
- Use a standard tweeting protocol – I like to do the same as @bethanar (who has done an excellent job of amplifying this year’s SLA and Internet Librarian International conferences which I was interested in but unable to attend) which is introduce each speaker with a tweet with their full name, twitter ID if applicable, and the topic they are talking about. Each subsequent tweet should then relate to that talk by using their initials at the beginning of the tweet (some prefer to use surname but bear in mind that takes up more space!). Others use the track number or conference session number which can be useful during the event but more difficult for those without a programme, and also possibly more difficult to relate to the session afterwards – initials are far more memorable I think.
- Set up a saved search for the hashtag so that when you get chance you can see what others are saying about the conference and engage in conversation with others using the hashtag if possible
- After the event, if you are planning to blog about the event don’t leave it much longer after the event if you can help it – people are likely to be looking out for reports on the event and if you tweet a link with the hashtag shortly afterwards they are most likely to find it. Of course, it’s not always possible to blog straight after the event (sometimes life takes over!), and it’s better to write something late then never – sometimes writing after the event can also help give yourself time for more reflection so it’s not always a bad thing, you just might not reach as many as you would earlier on.
- Include any relevant links and presentations in the blog posts (and the event tag of course) – that way people who may not have been aware of the event but who subscribe to your blog (and those who find it later) can get more details about the event itself.
I think that covers most of the things I’ve learnt as an event amplifier, are there any other tips you have discovered? Please share in the comments if so.