Twitter @Events I

I’m doing a bit of a fast forward in writing about using twitter at events.  I thought that I’d have several more posts setting the social media framework before getting here but something must have inspired me.  So let me take my first shot at discussing the use of twitter tied to trade shows, conferences, and other events.

The traditional, knee-jerk, old school event management reaction to Twitter is most likely, “Great,  a new, inexpensive marketing channel that I can use to replace traditional, expensive marketing.”  If you had this thought, please  go directly to the corner and a mandatory five minute time-out.  Come on.  Go.  Corner.  If you’re sitting in the corner right now and feeling pretty silly about yourself,  it’s because you haven’t been paying attention to the lesson about what social media is.  Where traditional marketing is a one-way broadcast in which you do all the talking, social media is a conversation in which you should do more listening than talking.    

Before even considering using Twitter with an event, you should first just use Twitter.  Sign up, follow, develop a following, spend your time watching and listening to the conversation not only so you learn the etiquette and the tools, but more importantly that you understand the sharing and collaborative nature of social media and Twitter.

The next step is to a find an event, any event, it could be trade show, conference, webinar, where there is a Twitter “backchannel” (fancy word, eh?).  Typically someone will have established a hashtag (i.e., #showname).  Watch the conversation and if you have something to say, say it.  For a traditional trade show you’ll see comments ranging from “I hate trade shows” to insightful comments about new products being introduced.  For a conference or webinar, you’ll most likely see a healthy discussion about the session or keynote topic, maybe links to live video, and/or note taking and thought sharing in 140 character chunks.  You’ll be amazed with the richness of the discussion.

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