Twitter: Underutilized Tool at Conferences?

May 31, 2011

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.


Reputation Observations from #MILOfest

November 15, 2010

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending MILOfest (Macs in Law Offices), which happened to be held at the Coronado Springs Resort in Disney World. We’ll ignore the fact that it was just as nice in Chicago as it was in Disney. That was offset by the fact that everything was green and lush in Disney while vegetation in Chicago has turned brown and dull.

The conference was pretty neat. Even a Mac user like myself learned a few things. I highly encourage you to go next year, regardless of whether or not you use a Mac. You probably use an iPhone or an iPad, and there was plenty of good information about using those in legal practices, too. And proof was presented that using Macs can save your firm, and tax payers if you work for government, money.

A couple things struck me this trip. The first is that my Twitter reputation precedes me. Three people immediately identified me by my Twitter handle, and two other people sat down by me at dinner Thursday just to check that it was me, and then ask questions about Twitter and how to use it. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t paid much attention to my Twitter use, other than noting, from time to time, the sheer volume of tweets I produce. People seem to think I have some kind of magic formula or some trick. I don’t. I just tweet stuff I find interesting, and make random observations I use to just think and never record. I got complimented on that, which was a new thing for me. I often wonder if I come across as well in person as well as I come across via Twitter, too.

The second thing that struck me was being associated with Clio. Now, granted, I registered for MILOfest before I came on board with Clio, and had completely different reasons for attending. It was a little bizarre as people who, at the time, only knew me via Twitter, seemed quite pleased to learn I am now with Clio. This is a new thing for me, too. Only one other time I have been associated with a company that has any sort of name recognition, and that was my very first job out of college with Evergreen. If you spent any time in the car, especially in Chicago, you’ve seen their containers being hauled around. They are green, and say EVERGREEN in white letters. I still feel a sense of pride when I see one of those containers go by. There’s a similar sense when people react positively when I say I work for Clio.

Two reputations. Both of them positive. Little weird for me, but also a bit surprising how well both seem to fit. And hey, #MILOfest has now been exposed to a wider audience than last year! I broke 40,000 tweets during the conference, and of course I surpassed my API limit and was locked out from tweeting about it. How’s that for irony?