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It’s 2014 – so you shouldn’t be surprised that every education conference is asking you to follow proceedings on Twitter. Don’t be afraid. When you try it, you’ll really like what this use of social media has to offer. Here are some tips:
1. Twitter is free and it’s public – anyone can see it. When you type the #(hashtag) into the search bar on the Twitter site or whatever app you use to access Twitter, you will get a list of what everyone is saying about that conference whether you are following them or not. If the tweeters are sharing great stuff- you’ll learn great stuff even if you’re not there!
2.. You have to use the exact hashtag promoted by the conference or else other people won’t see what you say and you wan’t see what they say. Don’t guess. Conference organizers have to do a good job of publicizing just one hashtag and keeping everyone on it. I’ve been to a couple of conferences where they put one hashtag on the website and a slightly different one in the program – or one organizer forgets and starts using a different hashtag than what’s on the program – and people don’t know which is which.
3. People who are at the conference should tweet during workshops – share key points, burning questions, and resources (links, authors, books and articles) but…
When thousands of people are at a national conference, it is important to respect the twitter feed and use it to share useful information. Greetings are nice, but they take up space and they don’t tell me anything I can use or anything unique or informative about the conference
Once the conference starts, try to avoid these: “Great workshop on literacy! #hashtagconf” “Happy to see my old school friends at #hashtagconf” because they don’t help the thousands of people watching the twitter feed.
but people DO need these messages:
“Speaker A says keep assessments out of preK #hasthtagconf” or “Mary Smith’s new book on early ed assessments now available here link.link #hashtagconf” or “Audience asking expert panel if block play is too dangerous for preK! What do you think? #hashtagconf”
Specific information is great!
4. Tweeting is a good way for you to take notes – you can retrieve them later.
5. When you can’t be everywhere at once – you choose one session, then follow the tweets for the one next door.
6. Tweet key points so your colleagues back at home can see what you are learning.
7. Invite others to share. If I read a link someone tweets about a conference, I might reply with another link that is relevant to that topic.
8. Tweet when something is going wrong for instant results from conference staff: “In Room 8 at #hashtagconf Lights just went out!”
9. Find new and old friends “Sue! You just tweeted from the assessment session at #hashtagconf Let’s meet for dinner!”
10. If someone else tweets what you were going to say, don’t say it again – just hit Retweet so your followers can see it.
11. Use this as a network building opportunity. When you see who is tweeting from a conference you like and they are sharing info that is useful to you – follow them right now!
12. You will get lots of new followers this way too.
13. Tweet about meetings or events that are hard to find so people have a better chance of learning about them and attending.
14. Tweet changes in the program – room changes, cancellations, etc. If you do – more people will watch the Twitter stream and that will mean more sharing and networking will also happen.
15. Tweet announcements like this “Joe’s Preschool has great job openings for bilingual teachers posted in the job center at #hashtagconf”
16. Organizers should appoint a couple of people to focus on tweeting at the conference – make sure they post useful, retweetable tweets that will make people think and respond – niceties are nice – but they don’t get a reaction or buy in 0r more followers.
17. Tweeting whets people’s appetite for more – hopefully will entice more people to attend your next conference!
Here are some great sources of help from Fran Simon at www.engagestrat.com if you need to learn more about Twitter: http://www.esbyfs.com/twitter_tips_tricks
##Please comment with your tips and experiences here and I will share this on…. TWITTER!!