Background on Engaging a Conference
The following tweet a few weeks ago spawned this discussion of a collision between my interest in social media, collaboration, peer conversation, gamification, and badges:
So how do you engage people with these tools. LinkedIn is still a tool I don’t use as much for engagement as I currently use Twitter. I do use it to message people and I do share content but it still seems more formal to me. I don’t for example push out snarky content and what I think is somewhat funny content on LinkedIn. I guess I am worried that I still may be in the job market and it may come back to haunt me.
In a previous post I noted that I have tweeted conferences for the past 2 or 3 years while being inconsistent at other times. I started live tweeting events when I realized that I was spending as much time and effort tweeting out the most relevant points of the session I was in as I spent taking notes – plus, the notes I took were less relevant than my tweets, since I was only tweeting out the best parts! Tweeting has allowed me to share and others to share info from sessions we may not have been able to attend.
I know Twitter provides a means for creating meaningful conversations at conferences and provides a way to meet people at conferences in a pre-twitter world. This paragraph is a repeat from a previous post, but worth emphasizing. Once I committed to live tweeting conferences, I got a lot of great, positive feedback about it from other attendees. I have had many people come up to me and say “Hello #kentbrooks”. It has been a great way to meet other conference attendees so I kept on going. I’ve also gotten the bulk of my followers through live tweeting. Live tweeting doesn’t just build recognition among attendees of the conference, either. People who are trying to follow along at home via the conference hash tag are often even bigger fans of quality live tweets. At the Ellucian Live Conference I specifically had a request from one of the Wyoming CIO’s to live tweet the conference since he was not going to be able to make it.
I am not sure of the overall impact, but I do know it is easier to meet more people at conferences through live tweeting. Ironic, isn’t it…technology humanizing the experience of a gathering of people.
Note taking and sharing were at the top of my list for tweeting a conference, but is seems not too many people are interested in this, so I said to myself: What are people interested in a conference?” Good Wireless and Prizes. Good Wireless at conferences is still sporadic at best. You can bring your own hotspot but as a whole your still at the mercy of the facility where your conference is held.
On to the prizes! Yes, people come to conferences for knowledge, but many people love winning prizes. Ironically, even at the high tech conference the prizes are given to people who participate in low tech quests usually built around a low tech paper card with the vendors booth number and a mission to get stamped, a sticker or a punch on the card as proof they had been to that vendors booth and looked at their wares. Thus I knew my mission:
I wanted to engage people at a conference with social media tools so they could meet people, share knowledge and at the same time win prizes. I wondered if tying the conference prizes to social media engagement would increase participation in the use of social media at a conference.