I regularly go to conferences as part of my work at a certain art school. Although they take place in hotels, conferences are devoid of the usual good time antics of a family vacation or post-prom party. Here’s how to survive.
When there is someone on the conference staff under the age of 39 with a smartphone, you’ll be encouraged via a friendly poster or pre-conference ’email blast’ to tweet about the conference using a special conference hashtag. If you use this hashtag (unless you’re at a conference that is about social networking or marketing), you’ll be one of five smartasses who secretly tweet about what the presenters are saying–quietly stabbing or affirming them inside the solitude of the internet. In that way, tweeting during a conference provides entertainment and is one way to prove to yourself that you were paying attention and not just biding your time in between snack breaks.
The major problem with these conference-based tweets is that the people who follow you who are not at the conference will think that you have gone balmy. “Who says open learning is just for high schools? #edfest2012” will come right after a tweet like: “Aside from everything else, there’s no way that I can live in a country where our president is named Rick.” Your followers will be so confused. You’re a funny-ish person with a Twitter voice they’ve grown to love when they see it every day and a half or so when something funny actually happens or you just feel like complaining. Can you afford twitterconfusion amongst your tiny cadre of 101 followers, give or take a spambot?