Tweet Your Way to Conference Success

What are some of the things that make you a successful learner? Reflecting on what you learn should be on that list of what makes you successful.

One that might not be on your list is working out loud. Working out loud is showing others (whether in your organization or the public) what you’re working on, getting feedback, and not hiding your process, transparency is the goal.

One of the easiest ways to work out loud is to share what you’re doing to the community, or in this case, the Twitter community.

Conferences are one event where people go to learn new things, to hear what’s been going on in their industry.

If you rely on your memory at a conference, you’re more than likely going to capture only 10% or less of what’s actually going on making the conference experience near useless. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not recording and reflecting on your experiences as you go.

Tweeting on a laptop.

Share Your Experience, Record Your Learning

Here’s how to be more successful at a conference and take home more knowledge from the conference and instantly share it with everyone you know.

Tweet your experience. Not only will you document everything you’ve learned for later, you’ll instantly be digesting the information and interpreting it with your own personal spin.

For those of you who’ve been sent to the conference by a company, you’ll also be sharing your experience with coworkers so they can instantly benefit from the conference.

Coworkers will no longer have to wait until the following week (sometimes longer) for you to synthesize your experience. What they get after that process is such a brief overview, it’s almost useless.

In the time since you took notes, interpreted them, and shared back to coworkers, your knowledge has become watered down and muddied, sometimes not even understood by yourself.

Double Time

If there are two of you attending a conference, cover twice the ground with Twitter and immediately share back to others.

Haven’t Used Twitter?

There’s never been a better time to learn than a few weeks before the conference. There are plenty of resources out there to learn how to best prepare yourself for Tweeting a conference.

One of those resources is from David Kelly who gives some great pointers on getting signed up, figuring it all out, and learning how to best use it for a conference. It was written specifically for #DevLearn but can be used for any conference: How to Participate in the #DevLearn Conference Backchannel.

Required Sharing

The benefits of using Twitter to document and share your experience are so great, I’ll go as far as saying any employee sent to a conference should be required to live Tweet the event for coworkers.

Not only will coworkers benefit, but the world will benefit and the company will gain instant ROI for sending that employee to the conference. The ROI will even span an entire department or company.

Doesn’t It Distract You?

Some people argue that Tweeting during the conference is distracting. They aren’t benefiting from the speaker because they’re staring at their mobile device. I would agree only in one circumstance; if you are Tweeting between sessions and not fully engaging in the networking conferences provide.

Taking notes is not a distraction, it’s important. Tweeting takes note-taking one step further, you immediately interpret and document in your own words the speakers message.

Notes often end up looking a bit kooky, difficult to interpret at a later date even by the author. I’ve experienced it, notes I’ve taken are often impossible to interpret at a later date.

Tweets immediately go out to others, therefore you make a conscious effort to make them as legible as possible, immediately interpreting the information and making sense out of it for yourself.

Don’t Converse

If you get into back and forth with others on Twitter during a conference, you’re doing it wrong.

This is a big distraction.

No matter how tempted you may be, don’t get into back and forth, your attention will get pulled away from the speaker and you will miss important messages.

Make sure your attention stays on the speaker, use Twitter to process and write what you interpret from the speaker. It’s always possible to go back later and have those conversations with others, they’ll be waiting for you.

Join the Backchannel!

Hopefully you’re convinced that joining the backchannel is important not only to you, it’s important to your coworkers and those relying on the backchannel for conference material.

Some simple rules you should follow when you do Tweet a conference:

  • Always use the conference or session hashtag (if you switch to a session hashtag, make it known with at least one Tweet using both hashtags).
  • Share with your coworkers your Twitter handle and the hashtags you used.
  • Have fun being a valuable resource to others, people are relying on you.