Reflection on #SMAANZ 2011 – the value of tweeting from a conference

#SMAANZ Conference Twitter feed

I have been both a Tweep and an attendee at the conference of the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (#SMAANZ) since 2007. I have been itching to have a go at combining the two after watching others tweeting from conferences. I had a bit of a go in 2009, but it was only @GeoffSchoenberg and I, so it was a bit lonely. This year there was a critical mass of tweeps in attendance.

It was timely that just over a week ago, Jeff Hunt wrote a great piece on How Twitter is Socialising Conferences. There is another great site on How to use Twitter to Network at Conferences.

Why I liked tweeting at the conference:
– I could share my thoughts rather than just taking notes.
– I made more contacts in a shorter time than I previously had. I’m not one of those people who can “work a room”. Twitter helps with that.
– the contacts I did make are more meaningful, because instead of a two minute conversation during a break, it’s the beginning of a continuous dialogue.
– I tweeted more, got more followers and was RT’d more than previously.
– during multiple sessions, you could glean what was happening in the other rooms.
–  the hashtag makes for a nice summary of the past three days.
– we could share and interact with others who weren’t at the conference.

What I didn’t like about tweeting at the conference:
– sometimes I wasn’t taking as much in while I was tweeting.
– I felt rude being on my phone.

My tips for awesome tweeting at a conference
1. Tweet thoughts and insights, not just verbatim from the presentation – as much as you can in <140 char
2. Check the conference hashtag to read others’ tweets. Create a dialog.
3. Get organisers to publicise a hashtag up front.
4. Get organisers to screen tweets during breaks.
5. Where possible, continue the dialogue after the conference.
6. Brave presenters: how about using a plugin to put a live Tweetstream into your Powerpoint?!!

See you in the Twitterverse and IRL at #SMAANZ in 2012.

Published by

Danya Hodgetts

Dr Danya Hodgetts is a Sport Management consultant, educator and researcher with more than 20 years experience in the sport industry. Danya specialises in developing and implementing innovative education, training and professional development programs for national and state sporting bodies, TAFE and University.

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