Science Conference Coverage with Twitter

Twitter works well for creating a searchable, "no login required" archive of notes. As a bonus, you can use it later for blogging ideas.

I used Twitter to report from 2 conferences and was relatively happy with the results. See the summaries for yourself -- the oldest post is at the bottom and the newest at the top (reverse chronological order, same as blogs):

- NEJM Horizons Conference

- ACAAI 2008 Annual Meeting

I have some comments on the 4 tips listed in the article Play-by-Playing Well With Others -- Media Morph: Conference Coverage Via Twitter by Abbey Klaasse:

1. Create or find a hash tag (#).

"A hash tag is the little code preceded by a "#" that people use to indicate the topic about which they're Twittering. The idea is to ensure that tweets on the same topic can be found and aggregated more easily. Simply search for a particular hashtag on search.twitter.com."

True. I used the hash tags #NEJM to report from the NEJM Horizons Conference and #ACAAI to report from the ACAAI 2008 Annual Meeting

2. Discover fellow Twitterers or Tweeple (people on Twitter).

"If you're at an event, you can search on the hashtag to figure out who else is Twittering. A good way to connect with them is to respond to something they said."

True. Twitter is a social tool. Try to connect and engage people in the conversation. Get feedback for your posts (tweets).

3. Color your commentary.

"Spice up things by adding additional thoughts to what you just heard."

True. People on Twitter want to hear your voice. Twitter is more personal than blogging.

4. How much is too much?

"Some of your followers might not want an update every five minutes of a daylong conference." Warn your followers that you'll be tweeting a show, for example, "I apologize because there's going to be lots of volume. So if you want to un-follow me for the day, I will be done on the 6th.'"

True. Every time I tweeter at high volume from a conference a few people unsubscribe and that is OK with me. In any case, I pick up a few subscribers who are interested in the conference and the end balance is usually positive.

In summary, Science Conference Coverage with Twitter is a useful and rewarding experience which can connect and engage the attendees. By twittering from a conference, you create a personal archive that you can refer to later for review or presentation. I recommend it.

References:

Twitter Updates from the Severe Asthma Workshop at the 2008 Annual Meeting of American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI)
Twitter Dispatches from the New England Journal of Medicine's Horizons Conference. The Efficient MD.
I will be attending NEJM Horizons Conference to push the boundaries of traditional medical publishing, suggestions welcomed
Allergists Can Use Twitter Microblogging Service to Send Patient Reminders
Using Twitter to Microblog a CME Meeting
A Doctor's Opinion: Why I Started Microblogging on Twitter

Related reading:

8 things I learnt about using twitter as a participation tool. Olivia Mitchell, 2009.
How to Attend a Conference as Yourself - and make the best out of it - Harvard Business Review  http://goo.gl/OsyxO

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