Tips for tweeting at conferences

Tweeting at conferences

Twitter is a micro blogging tool that enables users to share short succinct messages, links and multimedia. When used at conferences, live-tweeting by delegates is a way to publicly share information about the event. Typically tweets may include:

  • quotes from the speakers
  • photos of visual slides or where the font is large enough to be snapped clearly
  • links to papers, books, websites or other resources shared by the speakers and delegates
  • discussion about the presentations/workshops attended

For many live-tweeting at events is a form of note taking to refer back to after the event. It is also a good way to connect with new people you meet and continue the conversations post event. If you are planning an event yourself do capture speakers and delegates Twitter names and share these in the programme and add to name badges. This helps everyone make connections.

Conference Hashtag

Many conferences will communicate information about the event prior to, as well as during and post the event, using a website or blog. Updates can then be easily shared via Twitter and re-shared by those that read the tweets as retweets. This helps to disseminate messages to a far wider community.

In addition a hashtag is usually chosen and shared with delegates. Anyone wishing to tweet about the event should include the chosen hashtag in their tweets to help others find the tweets relating to the event. The example hashtag shown in this blog post is #SHULT15 and is being used for our Learning and Teaching Conference at  Sheffield Hallam University on June 25 2015. Tweets containing the hashtag can be found by using the search box within Twitter.

Good Twitter Etiquette

Whilst at many events it now an accepted form of communication there are a few things to consider:

  • When taking photos of people speaking, do seek their permission. The conference organisers may have already sought permission from speakers, but it is courteous to check.
  • When tweeting quotes, ensure that these are always attributed to the speaker. Ideally use the person’s Twitter user name or if this is not known search for it (using the search box in Twitter or check the tweets of others who may know it. Failing that use the person’s full name. Place quotes in speech marks.
  • Differentiate your own opinions from the speakers.
  • When discussing the event through tweeting, always be polite and respectful.
  • If someone asks for their work not be shared, then respect that request.
  • Be professional and remember anyone can view the tweets.
  • If you are presenting, include your Twitter name at the start of your slides to make it easier for people attending your session to attribute you.
  • Do remember to PUT YOUR PHONE ON SILENT! No-one wants to hear the pings you may receive every 30 seconds.

Pre-Event Homework

If you are going to tweet at an event then make sure you have done a little preparation:

  • Check your own Twitter account – have you got a clear bio on your profile and a photo? You are more likely to be followed or retweeted if others can identify who you are.
  • Find out what the event hashtag is and make a note of this
  • Consider the sessions you are likely to go to and identify what the speakers’ Twitter names are in advance. (There are now often included in the programme)
  • If you want to be super organised you may choose to follow the speakers and add them to a named list. You can find out more about how to create lists here.

Some Terminology

Mention = where the username is included in a tweet e.g. @suebecks

RT = retweet, sharing something already tweeted

H/T = hat tip (acknowledge someone else)

M/T = slightly modified retweet

tweetup = a physical meetup of Tweeters

Useful links

Presenters may find this post useful: Extending your reach beyond the conference using Slideshare and Social Media

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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8 Responses to Tips for tweeting at conferences

  1. Manash says:

    Thanks for sharing awesome tips on live tweeting on twitter. As twitter is one of the greatest social media tool to create awareness about the conference.

  2. What’s your view on putting your Twitter handle on ALL slides? Here’s some interesting debate on that. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • A very interesting debate with valid points for and against. I’d agree adding to every slide could be distracting. However if you have personally created a model or other graphic you might want to consider adding your @username to this. As it gets re-shared it keeps your name with it and helps others to cite correctly!

      • Thanks Sue, that’s a neat idea! I’d not thought of it that way, but personalising key pieces of intellectual property sounds like an excellent compromise.

        Would you be willing to comment to that effect on my site? Of course, you’d also be most welcome to leave a link back to your own post.

  3. Pingback: Day 6 of #SU7DoT: live events on Twitter | 7 Days of Twitter

  4. Pingback: Emergency Medicine Education#EMConf: Live Tweeting? - Emergency Medicine Education

  5. Thanks and New Resource for your “Tips for Tweeting at Conferences” Page

    Hi there,

    First off, I wanted to say thank you for putting together the “Tips for Tweeting at Conferences” page on your site ( There are some really useful links/resources on there.

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