Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how I use Twitter, observing how others use it and actively trying to improve my use of it. I think I’d reached a point where I was stuck in a rut, tweeting a lot but maybe not giving it the thought and consideration it deserves.
Last year, I posted about conferencing tweeting after an illuminating experience at a big event, but my thinking continues to develop with every event I attend or backchannel I follow. And – with Twitter unlikely to disappear any time soon – it’s an ever-relevant topic at the moment.
As a community, we cite Twitter as our number one learning tool and we’re vocal in our appreciation of our personal learning networks (PLNs). Both of these things are very evident at conferences. If you’re in L&D and you tweet, the likelihood is you’ve done one or more of the following at an event and felt like you were making good use of Twitter:
- Started following interesting speakers or people you’ve met
- Followed the backchannel using a hashtag
- Retweeted specific messages from the backchannel
- Replied to specific tweets in the backchanel
- Tweeted interesting points from a particular session
- Uploaded photos of the speaker or session
But I bet you’ve also sometimes sat at your desk trying to follow the backchannel from a conference you aren’t attending, struggling to understand the flow of a session, perhaps wishing you could get a bit more detail, or clicking through on links of photos only to find it’s a generic picture of dozens of people in a lecture theatre with an indistinct figure silhouetted in front of a bullet-pointed PowerPoint slide.
So, what can we do to improve our use of Twitter at conferences and share really valuable learning and insight with fellow L&D folk?
Over the next couple of weeks – in the run up to Learning Technologies, the largest event in the UK L&D calendar and one with an extremely active Twitter backchannel – I’ll be sharing my tips. These have been gleaned from constructive feedback from other people, observation of a few different backchannels, and some ongoing trial and error!
(This guide is an expanded version of a post originally published as part of the eLearning Network’s 24 tips, in December 2012.)