This is part of a series of blog posts about event amplification. See this introductory blog post and the event amplification tag for other relevant blog posts.

Following event amplification

I’ve discovered and followed a number of events through Twitter (usually through one of the people I follow mentioning an event) and online. I think Twitter is the most commonly used way to follow at the moment, although it’s great to see more and more events being livestreamed either by audio or video, or incorporating a group chat feature for online followers. I’ve shared below some of the things I have learnt from following conferences from afar:

  • Find out as much as you can about the event before it begins (or as soon as you discover it) – search for more details online to see if you can get more details and a schedule of the event. This way you can see which presentations you think you are likely to be most interested in and see if there is any planned coverage such as live streaming. Even if there isn’t, you’ll know what time to be looking out for any tweets.
  • Let people know that you are interested in following the event (or a particular section of it) – this way the organisers may be able to keep you up-to-date or another tweeter might notice you are particularly interested in something they are attending and may be encouraged to share this if possible.
  • Add the event to your calendar in the same way you would a physical event – although it’s probably not as important as if you have booked tickets to attend something, you don’t want to miss the event if possible. Schedule it into your calendar and try to set aside some time to follow the event.
  • Set up a saved search on Twitter (or a new search column if you use Tweetdeck) – that way you can separate the relevant tweets and keep an eye on them, and will be alerted to new tweets using the hashtag.
  • See if there is a Twitter list of attendees to follow – I often set these up if I am attending an event (e.g. list of attendees at New Professionals Conference 2010) – this way you can follow all the tweets from these people without having to follow each of them individually (or use it as a discovery tool to follow them). Another advantage of this is that you will see all of the tweets from these people even if they are not using the conference hashtags, or if there are a few different ones being used (e.g. at Internet Librarian International there seemed to be lots of different tags used – a list may have helped if you were trying to follow this). Of course the downside of this is you may also get a lot of irrelevant tweets, but the chances are during the event most of the tweets will be relevant. If there isn’t already a Twitter list, consider setting one up – you could make it a public list and share it with others who may be interested.
  • Engage with other attendees (both physical and virtual) – I sometimes struggle to do this, particularly when I’m just following something in the background whilst I’m working, but it is really useful to engage in conversation with other people, both those at the conference and those following online. The chances are you will have things in common and there can be some really interesting discussions which stem from the tweets at a conference. Also bear in mind however that those attending the event may be too busy to respond to your messages, so don’t expect instant replies even if you know there is a break – the chances are they will be using the break to grab a drink and chat to other attendees.
  • Use the conference hashtag in any of your responses to tweets (some clients like Tweetdeck can add them automatically), and anything else you publish about the conference to ensure it’s findable by other people

I think that covers most of the things I have learnt about following amplified events, is there anything I’ve missed? Please share your tips in the comments.