Guest Blog Post By: Shane Arman
I consider myself a multi-tasker, but I can also be easily distracted. These realizations became clear after I attended the
PR+SM Summit April 8 at Marquette University.
Having brought my laptop, I tweeted throughout the event and in the process learned how exciting participation in that dialogue can be. From my observations and conversations, here are my tips for successful live event tweeting:
1. Make your tweets relevant and understandable: Frame your tweets so that followers who aren’t at the event can still understand and benefit from your updates. This goes back to knowing your audience.
2. Diversify the type of updates: Don’t simply repeat everything a speaker is saying, word-for-word or constantly retweet. Instead, move the conversation forward by rephrasing what the speaker says or adding a fresh viewpoint. Remember that you want to spark a two-way dialogue, and unique viewpoints get people talking.
3. Avoid update overload: For your sake and your audiences’ don’t update every 30 seconds. Finding a balance can be difficult but if you stop actively listening to the speaker you should take a break. A few times throughout the PR+SM Summit, I found myself not listening and just browsing Twitter streams. I had to stop and remember why I came to the event in the first place.
4. Use correct formats: Include conference designated hashtags and try to find the speakers on Twitter and mention them in your updates. Speakers will appreciate the comments and it shows you made the extra effort to include them in the conversation.
5. Take time to decompress: After the event, spend time reviewing the hashtag stream and follow fellow attendees to start conversations and build relationships. Conferences often feature subject-matter experts as speakers, so take advantage of your first-hand insight by blogging or tweeting about their presentation.
With these tips on the table, it’s critically important to understand that you’re speaking to the audience and you are the audience. I had a chance to speak with Vice President of Communications at IBM Timothy Blair (keynote speaker at PR+SM Summit) about his thoughts on the backchannel, the live twitter conversation happening during his keynote.
Timothy seemed to have mixed feelings about the constant activity and he said it was sort of odd to look out and see many heads buried in their phones or laptops. He caught himself looking back at the conversation a few times, but said he lost his train of thought when he did. In any case, I’m sure he went back and looked at the Twitter conversations later.
What are your thoughts on monitoring the backchannel at conferences? Any tips for live event tweeting that I didn’t mention?
Shane Arman ([email protected]) is a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh majoring in public relations and graduating in May. He maintains his own career development blog, on the PR path (http://ontheprpath.blogspot.com) and can be found on Twitter @ShaneArman.