Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Only an iPad for conference tweeting and blogging

Social Now 2012 - Samuel Driessen pays attention I really enjoy going to conferences. Listening to other people’s or organization’s experiences helps me think. Good talks and breakout sessions inspire me and trigger me to try the approaches as well. Bad talks help me sort out what my convictions are and what my approach would be. Conferences are also great for meeting up with people I already know and meeting new, interesting people. In short, conferences help me learn.

One of the great use cases for social media is conferences. I really enjoy social media before, during and after conferences. Before conferences social media is great to find out who’s coming and what other people are expecting of the conference. Letting people know you’ll be at the conference gives people who couldn’t attend a way to experience the conference anyways by following your tweets and blogposts. After conferences social media is great to evaluate: thank the conference organization, provide feedback about the conference and thank participants.

Social media during the event is most interesting. Tweeting and blogging about the talks helps me remember what the speaker said and reflect on his/her statements. Furthermore, the discussion about the talk usually also starts on Twitter before it has ended. It gives multiple perspectives on the subject in real-time. Of course, Twitter and the like is also used during conference to coordinate meetups and dinner.

Up until my last conference visit I always brought my laptop along to tweet and blog. My iPhone comes in handy as well.

Recently I went to the Social Now conference in Porto and only brought my iPad along. I was wondering if that would work. Would I tweet more or less? Will I be able to keep up with the tweets? And does liveblogging work on the iPad?

Well, to start with the last question: I didn’t liveblog the conference. I was master of ceremony and had to pay attention to speakers, tweets and time. What I did do though is jot down (with my stylus) and type lines I could use for a blogpost about the conference. Basically a summary of the most interesting statements that could also be found in the tweet stream.

Following the tweet stream, posting tweets and replying to tweets worked great on the iPad. For one, battery is not an issue (as it is on the laptop). Finding a plug for the laptop is still a pain at most conferences. I basically used the Twitter app to follow the hashtag. Even though I was the conference chair I posted the most tweets. I found the tweet stream to be very insightful. As the conference chair it gave me great insight into what people thought of the talk, which questions they had, etc. Interestingly even when the number of tweets were low during a talk, I could use that to give it back to the audience and ask why. At this conference it meant people couldn’t follow and didn’t understand the talk.

There’s been a lot of talk about tablets taking over the pc market. My experience with only an iPad at a conference seems to confirm this trend.

I was wondering if liveblogging would have worked. Typing on an iPad is harder than on a laptop (although it works well enough). Tweeting from a iPad works fine. Of course I could buy an external keyboard for the iPad, but then I could just bring along the laptop, right? I’ll see if liveblogging works at the next conference I’m going to.

But if tweeting from an iPad works, it would be great if I could just mark several tweets and push them to a draft version of a blogpost (I use Blogger). Or is that what Summify does?

What are your experiences with an iPad at conferences? What works for you and what doesn’t? Do you have experience with liveblogging on an iPad? I’d love to hear from you.

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