Twitter: Underutilized Tool at Conferences?

I read Carolyn Elefant’s nice post on Nolo, For Conferences, Nothing Beats Tweets, and remembered that, a couple years ago, I was so incredibly annoyed at how underutilized Twitter was used at conference, I  bought the domain TweetMyConference with the intent of using as a way to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter at conferences. I just put a couple windows up to start while I worked on it locally, my head filling with more useful functionality than I had programming knowledge to achieve. Today, I’m still shocked no one else has done something similar. Or maybe they have but it isn’t well known.

Part of the problem, I think, is that those charged with organizing conferences, perhaps even attendees, still aren’t sure of the usefulness of Twitter. Twitter still has that “what I’m eating for lunch today” label attached to it. That seems to only be further strengthened by its use of celebrities in promotional videos, demonstrating a total lack of understanding for its users, but alas, I digress.

Carolyn offers some good pointers on using Twitter while at a conference. I’ve employed those myself with a fair amount of success. And while #abatechshow is the most obvious example, there’s a better one: #MILOfest.

MILOfest (pronounces my-lo) is short of Macs In Law Offices and is put on by Victor Medina. As you can guess, it’s a conference devoted to all things Mac in a law office setting. I don’t remember how I heard of it, probably by following Victor on Twitter, but I remember thinking of it as a worthwhile conference to attend. So I did, and, of course, I tweeted from the event. My Twitter reputation proceeded me, which I’ve kind of gotten used to now but, none-the-less, still find surprising.

The thing that struck me, and that I remember now after reading Carolyn’s post, are the inquiries, via Twitter, from other Mac-using attorneys who hadn’t heard of MILOfest, and wanted to know more. I directed them to the website, and responded to their tweets as I best I could since it was my first time at MILOfest. They were excited, and pleased, that there was a conference strictly on Macs in law offices. They weren’t alone!

So just by tweeting from a conference, other people, not at the conference, learned something. And at least one expressed interest in attending MILOfest 2011.

And it’s that sharing of information that is the important, yet underutilized component of Twitter at conferences. I’d wager that’s due to so few tweeters attending (and tweeting from!) conferences. Perhaps conference organizers will reach out to tweeters as they reach out to journalists, or tweeters will reach out to conference organizers, and we’ll all learn something new.


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