Confessions of a selfish conference tweeter

As many of you will know it’s the ALT- C 2012 conference this week, the UK’s biggest learning technology conference. I’m going later in the week but today am taking advance of the live streaming of the key notes and invited speakers (thank you ALT for once again providing this service); and of course following the twitter back channel.

During this mornings keynote the #altc2012 hashtag started trending on twitter.

Combined with this there seemed to be a growing number of complaints/ warnings about spam messages using the hashtag too.

The growth of twitter as an integral part of conferences is now, depending on your point of view, both a blessing and a curse. As well as some tweets from people who couldn’t be there positively encouraged tweeting, I also noticed a few tweets this morning bemoaning the level of tweets and harking back to the “good ol’ days” when it was a bit like the altc2012 google+ stream, with just a few “cool kids” hanging out.

So what’s my confession? Well there are a couple. Firstly, I never apologise for tweeting at a conference. If I go to a conference now I tweet. If you follow me you probably know this. I am in a very fortunate position that I am able to get to conferences/events that many in our sector can’t, so I think it is part of my role in publicly funded service to share my experiences/ relevant information and links etc. If that bothers you then I suspect you don’t/won’t follow me on twitter, and that is absolutely fine by me.

Secondly, I don’t use tweet deck or anything like that, and very rarely follow a conference hashtag stream. It may mean I miss out on a few tweets (or actually quite a lot), but you know what? (cue stage whisper) It doesn’t really matter. And there is the advantage of avoiding spam but sticking to my own (relatively) spam free stream.

Thirdly, I am slightly obsessed with the network views that people like Tony Hirst and Martin Hawskey create using the twitter data from conferences, and will no doubt be sharing during this week.

So, dear reader, there are my confessions, am I forgiven?

8 thoughts on “Confessions of a selfish conference tweeter”

  1. I’m afraid I can not offer you absolution, as I do exactly the same thing! Personally I think twitter is god send for those of us are unable to travel to conferences and events as much as we would like to. I also think the twitter backchannel adds a very welcome community dimension to many events even if you do have to tune out the spam, and some of the rather loud voices 😉

  2. No need for forgiveness/absolution – live tweeting truly makes an event – whether I’m there (I often spend more time concentrating on Twitter than the speaker, unless the speaker has drawn me in) and I wholeheartedly support ” so I think it is part of my role in publicly funded service to share my experiences/ relevant information and links etc.” – especially as it’s getting more & more difficult to get funding for conferences!

  3. Hi Sheila,
    I really wish I was there with you and I usually skip between the hashtag and my own stream. It seems like my whole stream is actually there anyway. Yesterday the spamming made watching the hashtag impossible so I relied in chums to give me the lowdown as I couldn’t watch the live stream. I guess its all good we are all talking even in whispers and sometimes shouting

  4. Hi Lynn

    Absolutely! I think we all just need to (and are) get better at filtering (ou and in) and recognising that we can’t keep up with everything. The twitter backchannel has been a really important addition to conferences and post conference communication/networking, and I would hate to lose it. I just get tired of some people moaning about tweets instead of just ignoring them, and doing whatever it is they do.


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