Academic conferences will never be the same again now we have the powers of social media at our fingertips. I blogged about this transformation in the spring, in the wake of our Cochrane UK and Ireland Symposium and Evidence Live. From the comments this generated and the helpful links people shared on the blog, it’s not just me who’s excited about this and keen to explore its possibilities and participate in events in new ways. If you haven’t yet tried live tweeting, or have yet to be convinced, do read it and check out some of the links. What I want to do here is suggest an aide memoire to help you make the most of live tweeting, when your brain’s fizzing with what you’re hearing, not to mention the jet lag, and there are a zillion people, screens, meetings, food, freebies and goodness knows what else clamoring for your attention. (Ok, you are probably an academic who can filter out all the frivolous stuff and yes I’m up for paperless conferences, but please let there be a nice conference bag and a great lunch!). Event organizers will often have guidelines for social media use at their event and should have a dedicated hashtag to enable people to follow tweets about it. Using it in every tweet is Rule Number One. Here’s my suggestion for maximising your event tweets. Ask yourself, HAVE YOU?
Attribution – have you made it clear whether you are quoting and whom?
Varied – mix up your tweets, with mood tweets, information, big ideas, challenges (your own or the speaker’s), photos etc
Engaging – is it? Tweet things people will relate to, think about the language you use, keep your followers in mind. Good speakers often hand you great, tweetable soundbites
You – Don’t be afraid to show that you are a real person! Sometimes comment on what you hear. This could also stand for Your organization; share your organization’s values and interests through what and how you tweet
Others – consider adding Twitter handles to target your tweets
Useful – does it add value? Remember to include links etc where appropriate. Being useful makes it more likely that you’ll be retweeted and people will be keen to follow you.
You might like to check out our list of useful social media resources on our Cochrane UK website, here, which is regularly updated as we come across new things. You can also watch our slide presentations from our Social Media Roadshow, which includes presentations on engaging at events through social media, tweeting Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews. In systematic reviews we search for and summarize studies that answer a specific research question (e.g. is paracetamol effective and safe for treating back pain?). The studies are identified, assessed, and summarized by using a systematic and predefined approach. They inform recommendations for healthcare and research. More, and blogging; you can find these here.
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