Superstar conference tweeters, bloggers and curators

I wanted to cite a couple of excellent and experienced conference tweeters in my last post about preparing yourself for backchannel tweeting. So I turned to Twitter, of course, and asked for recommendations. I’d expected one or two names to pop up several times, but instead I got a raft of recommendations – some familiar, some new to me – so I decided to share the list in full for the benefit of any aspiring conference tweeters (or experienced tweeters looking to up their game!).

Some of these people are expert tweeters, others do more live blogging, photo-sharing or curating. Some do all of those things! Either way, these are all examples of people who are perceived to contribute to event backchannels in a really pro-active, consistent and valuable way.

  • AnneMarie Cunningham - One of the names that was new to me, AnneMarie is a GP and clinical lecturer so is in medical ed rather than corporate L&D. She was so highly recommended as a conference tweeter that I look forward to following her at the next event she attends to see what tips I can pick up.
  • Aisha Taylor - I had the pleasure of meeting and tweeting with Aisha at BP’s recent Future of Learning event in Houston. I loved how seamlessly Aisha brought non-attendees into the backchannel by referencing previous conversations or other websites, programmes and events.
  • Craig Taylor - Craig is the master of speedy end-of-day recaps. Whether it’s on his blog, Tayloring It, or his YouTube channel, he shares the two or three key points from each session and his own personal takeaways or actions.
  • Dan Martin - Another new name to me, Dan is (amongst other things) editor of BusinessZone.co.uk and was recommended by Kate (herself an excellent backchannel contributer, mentioned below). He sounds like he knows what he’s doing with social media so, again, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can learn from him next time he live tweets from an event.
  • David Kelly - I have no doubt that, when he tweets from conferences, he does so brilliantly. But where Dave really sets himself apart is in backchannel curation. He describes himself as ‘a huge proponent of backchannel learning’ and his commitment to curating backchannels, even from events he hasn’t personally attended, is second to none. 
  • Justin Mass - I met Justin in the backchannel at Learning 2012, noticing his relentless enthusiasm and ability to capture the really resonant, retweetable soundbites. I’ve since discovered that he’d pledged to just share a single core learning takeaway at the end of each session, but found himself falling back into live tweeting, leading him to reflect on real-time activity switching.
  • Kate Graham - There’s a reason why Kate has become the go-to girl for backchannel organisation in the UK. She’s always aware of her audience and looking for new and better ways to share the event experience with her network. Most often, this is via Twitter and her blog, Learning As I Go.
  • Lesley Price - One of the most enthusiastic tweeters I know, Lesley can always be relied upon to inject a sense of the event atmosphere into the backchannel. She’s also a good person to follow if you’re interested in any tweet-ups that might happen.
  • Martin Couzins - Martin was probably one the first people I noticed uploading photos during conferences and events, as well as sending text-based tweets. He regularly shares round-ups and video or audio interviews from events on his blog, itsdevelopmental, and he’s also written about why live event coverage is so important,
  • Mike Collins - As well as presenting at a number of conferences recently, Mike always reflects thoughtfully and usefully on events he attends, and I believe has also ventured into live blogging – both on The Learning Asylum - as well as tweeting during events.
  • Perry Timms - I’ve not personally followed Perry as a conference tweeter yet but he comes highly recommended, and was also recently voted 7th in People Management magazine’s Top 20 HR Power Tweeters poll – so certainly one to start watching!
  • Steve Wheeler - When some people speak, you know you should listen. Steve’s one of those people. He’s much sought after as a speaker at conferences and other events, but his backchannel contributions are also worth following and learning from.
  • Sukhvinder Pabial - Sukh was another one recommended by Kate, an occupational pyschologist and proponent of positive psychology. Collaboration is a big thing for Sukh and he co-founded the L&D Connect community, so it makes sense that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to backchannel sharing.

Who would you add? If you know of someone who’s a role model for aspiring backchannel contributers, let me know in the comments below or via Twitter, and I’ll add them to the list.

eLearningLearning: a one-stop-shop for all things e-learning

With new bloggers popping up all the time it can be hard to keep track of all the good stuff out there, and sometimes even harder to separate the good stuff from the really great stuff. That’s where eLearningLearning comes in; it’s a community run by Tony Karrer and designed to collect and organise current and relevant content about e-learning.

I’ve been receiving daily emails from eLearningLearning for a couple of years now – regular round-ups of the best e-learning blogs out there, sent straight to my inbox. There’s even more content on the site itself, where you can search based on concepts, tools, companies and so on. It’s a goldmine of content on all things e-learning, and well worth a look.

If you do visit the site or sign up for the round-up emails, you may well come across some of my content; as of today, Good To Great is a featured resource on eLearningLearning (and proud to be in such good company!).

Round-up of the year (August to December)

The second half of 2010 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me – just on a professional level I’ve moved jobs twice (more on that later), joined the Twitterverse and set up my own blog.

When Good To Great first came into being I wasn’t expecting it to take the e-learning blogosphere by storm, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the numbers reading, sharing and commenting on it.

So with Christmas just around the corner I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped to make Good To Great a success and I hope I can continue to provide food for thought and useful tips throughout 2011. In case you missed any, here are (in no particular order) 10 of the most popular Good To Great posts from the past six months.

Finally, as anyone who follows me on Twitter already knows, I’ve recently returned to Saffron Interactive after six months away at QA. It’s an exciting new role and one which I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into – thanks for all the good wishes.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and see you in 2011.

Image:  Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is there a ‘right’ way to blog? Reflections three months in

Three things have prompted this blog post.

First, three months into my solo-blogging venture, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I approach the process in the ‘right’ way.

Second, in a recent LSG webinar there was a lively discussion in the chat pane about whether or not a blog constitutes ‘creative writing’.

And third, I stumbled across this post from Pushing Social about what ‘quality content’ is.

When Good To Great was just a gleam in my eye, I brainstormed potential blog post ideas to make sure that I had enough to say and that my blog wouldn’t simply dry up after a couple of weeks. I’m not really too worried about what Stanford calls ‘the thought leader myth’ or ‘the genius writer illusion’ – I follow blogs not because I expect revolutionary thinking every day, but because I enjoy finding ideas, questions or comments that get me thinking or looking at something in a new way. So that’s the goal I set myself; if I can provoke a little discussion or give someone a useful idea, I’m happy.

But I also assumed that by brainstorming my ideas I was creating a list of topics to write on. I saw myself turning to it each week when blogging-day came around, selecting the next topic and churning out my post. I was, probably unsurprisingly, a little misguided in that assumption. My mindmap is still tucked in the back of my notebook but more often than not my posts are (like this one) prompted by previous posts, reader comments, or articles and events that have got me thinking.

And rather than quickly ‘churning out’ posts, I’ve fallen into a pattern of drafting redrafting a post over the course of a week or so. Whenever inspiration strikes, I create a new document and note down whatever’s in my head. When I next have a spare fifteen minutes or so at lunchtime or in the evening, I open up one of my drafts and spend a little more time crafting the full post. Usually I won’t publish it right away, because I’ll probably have another couple of drafts previously polished up and ready to go. When I’m ready to post, I’ll cast my eye over it one last time, make any final edits, and publish it online.

Maybe as time goes on I’ll spend less time on each post. And I suppose one downside is the lack of immediacy: if I want to pick up on something I’ve read, the sheer speed with which things spread online means that unless I get round to it quickly my response could become a little outdated.

But for now I’m enjoying taking this approach. I’ve always loved writing – be it for professional, academic or personal purposes – and I enjoy going back and reviewing something I’ve previously written, tweaking it here and there until I’m happy. I know I won’t always have this luxury, and indeed I often don’t when I’m writing at work, which is another reason why I enjoy being able to do it for my blog. Yes, it’s related to what I do professionally, but for me Good To Great is a slightly indulgent creative outlet.

So, fellow bloggers, what do you do? Do you type your posts directly into WordPress or Blogger and then hit ‘publish’ right away? Or do you draft, redraft and polish your post a couple of times before putting it online? I’d love to know – is there a ‘right’ way to blog?

Getting started: how and why I’ve begun blogging

I felt like there was a lot of pressure surrounding my first blog post: what if nobody reads it or (worse) people read it but nobody likes it? Unlike when I wrote for the Spicy Learning Blog, which was a team effort, this time it’s all down to me. So I’ve spent a little while thinking about how to get started, visiting various sites for advice about getting a new blog off the ground, and generally procrastinating. Today I decided to just take the plunge and get on with it, and what better topic for a new post from someone just getting started than getting started itself?

Another reason for the nerves surrounding my first venture into solo blogging is the fact that I’ve only been doing this (instructional design) for three years or so, which doesn’t seem very long at all compared to some of the other well known industry bloggers. But one of the benefits of that is that I can still vividly remember what it’s like to be new to the business and the things that I did to get to grips with the basics and move up the learning curve as quickly as possible. The two most useful activities that helped (and continue to help) me develop my understanding of the e-learning industry in general and of instructional design in particular were reviewing courses (designed by as many different people for as many different audiences and purposes as possible) and reading blogs.

I’m still an avid reader of blogs and have added my favourites to the bar on the right. My absolute top recommendation for anyone specialising in instructional design is Cathy Moore’s Making Change, where there are some real gems and lots of practical tips and examples for engaging, effective e-learning. Hopefully as this blog takes shape I’ll be able to sit on the other side of the fence and take a leaf out of Cathy’s book, offering the kind of examples, advice and suggestions that I find so useful on other people’s blogs and making a valuable contribution to the online learning and development community. That’s the plan anyway!