This year, we want to encourage WebWise attendees to expand their participation in the conference through Twitter.   Free, high-speed WiFi available throughout the meeting rooms at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace makes participating in the Twitter backchannel easy to do.  What follows are suggestions for how to get the most out of WebWise through Twitter and social media.

Before you arrive in Baltimore, catch up on what’s been going on so far by reading the WebWise blog and by following our Twitter handle @imlswebwise and the conference hashtag #WebWise14.  If you do, you will have an opportunity to meet and even to exchange ideas with WebWise participants before the conference begins!  WiseCamp session proposals submitted by IdeaScale can also be found by searching #WebWise14.  If you haven’t proposed a session already, consider doing so in advance.

Throughout the conference, @imlswebwise will be sending out tweets that include:

  • * reminders about events on the agenda,
  • * updates in case there are any changes to the agenda, and
  • * retweets of comments, tips, observations, and photos that use the #WebWise14 hashtag.

Those who don’t want to use Twitter are still able to follow #WebWise14 by visiting the large monitors in the WebWise Commons area in Maryland Ballroom B.  Be sure to stop by to keep up with the ongoing conversation online as it scrolls along on the big screens!

Attendees are invited to post announcements, ask and answer questions, and respond to fellow attendees on Twitter, as well. From what’s going on in a session (Are you having technical problems?  Is the session delayed?) to letting others know that you are continuing a WiseCamp session conversation in the “Commons,” we are eager to hear about your WebWise experience.

In sessions, consider sharing salient points, summarizing speaker’s tips, and sharing your impressions.   Twitter conversation offers presenters and workshop leaders an important chance to hear feedback and to continue the conversation once the session or workshop has ended.  It also gives those who were unable to attend the conference an opportunity to benefit from your experience.

If you plan to use Twitter during WebWise, here are some helpful reminders:

  • * Please remember to use the #WebWise14 hashtag.
  • * Consider creating short session hashtags in addition to #WebWise14 to help focus readers’ attention.
  •  * Be sure that the other participants in your workshop or your WiseCamp session are aware of the hashtag you are using.

For presenters who want to get the most out of participants’ tweeting during your demonstration, workshop, or WiseCamp session, don’t forget to:

  •  * Share your Twitter id on either your slides or on a flip chart.
  • *  Mention in your introduction that you are interested in feedback via Twitter.
  • *  Tell participants if you prefer not to use Twitter.
  • * Respond to tweets about your presentation in order to build relationships that extend beyond WebWise.
  •  * Reciprocate by actively tweeting in other sessions and workshops.

Conference tweeting is most successful when participants are mindful of promoting positive online discourse.  You might consider the following tips for creating a respectful Twitter backchannel:

  • * Introduce speakers and credit them with the statements you recirculate.
  • * Share new information you’ve learned along with the presenter’s Twitter handle.
  • * Expand an idea by adding hashtags that will capture the interest of groups outside the WebWise community.

While constructive criticism is always welcome, tone is sometimes difficult to convey through Twitter. Consider sending the presenter a private message or email if your concerns may take longer than 140 characters to address.

Keep the conversation going through social media once WebWise is over.  Bloggers who want to write about their experiences are encouraged to tweet out a link to the post with the conference hashtag #WebWise14.  Workshop leaders, demonstrators, and plenary speakers who wish to post slides or their talk, and WiseCamp session participants who want to post their notes from sessions are also invited to do so.  Don’t forget to tweet out a link with #WebWise14, and WebWise Now will consider it for recirculation in our weekly round-up!

Finally, by following @imlswebwise and other participants who use #WebWise14 throughout the year, you can extend the conversations begun at WebWise and continue to build a network of peers online with similar interests, projects, and challenges.

More good advice about how to use Twitter at conferences is available online.  The following links, which helped to inform this post, represent good advice for how to use social media to enhance your WebWise experience:

The Society for Historical Archaeology blog by William Moss
Live Tweeting the MLA: Suggested Practices by Ernesto Priego
Ten Tips for Tweeting at Conferences by Brian Croxall
The Dos and Don’ts of Live Tweeting at Academic Conferences: An Update by Vanessa Varin

Though not specifically about Twitter at conferences, the following post presents one cultural heritage professional’s use of the medium to reach new audiences:

Twitter as Cultural Resource Outreach Tool by Robert Connolly