Friday, August 21, 2009

Twitter Best Practices for Genealogy Conferences--Some ideas

With the Family History Expo coming up in Sandy, and FGS the week after that, and the EWGS Conference the next week, I thought I might share some ideas about how to ethically and effectively tweet a genealogy conference. In particular I'm talking about tweeting a lecture but I think it also applies to those great conversations we get to have.

Especially since I am going to be in Hawaii at my sister's wedding during FGS, I'm looking forward to hearing about the conference via social media channels. I hope everyone will be generous in letting me know what is going on so I won't feel too left out. (I won't be sobbing in Hawaii, but I *will* miss you guys.)

In the spirit of the twitter movement, I'll keep my ideas to a numbered list. We'll see if I can keep them to 140 characters.

Having been twittered and then twittering a lecture at the last conference there are some things I would do different. I've learned:
  1. It goes without saying that credit should be given. List the lecturer's blog, twitter, facebook, possibly even an email spelled out.
  2. I would argue that you don't need permission any more than a movie or restaurant reviewer. But it would be nice of you to ask.
  3. Distinguish your comments by using "quotes" for what the lecturer said and (parenthesis) for what you are adding.
  4. Use your own words and give a review not a regurgitation. Think live news reporting not videotaping.
  5. Posting later to your blog is nice and extends the discussion. Think newspaper reporting.
  6. Use the hashtag for the conference to be able to participate in the community. Like: #SCGS09, #FHX09, or #BYUgen
  7. University professors are appreciating how the social networking turns a class into a community--participate in the gen conference community
  8. Twitter is a great place to ask questions. It saves the question for later and doesn't interrupt the lecturer's train of thought.
  9. Twitter can be an extension of the question and answer period. A lecturer might answer later or you might get an answer from the community.
  10. A competent lecturer will enjoy continuing the conversation on their blog or on twitter. Check their social networking avenues for responses
  11. But be patient, conferences are very busy for lecturers and they may not get to it--even for a couple of days.
  12. You might even RT or link to a lecturer's responses so that your readers will get the answers along with the questions.
  13. Hopefully you can help twitter change appropriate lectures from show&tell to a conversation-universally accepted as a better teaching method
  14. And finally, try to keep your tap, tap, tapping somewhat quiet. Don't bother the person next to you.
  15. Your ideas?
And some other reading about using twitter.
  • The Twitter Experiment UT Dallas on You Tube. And the professor's analysis. The professor there used it as a discussion tool when the class was too large for everyone to participate in the discussion. Likewise, it could be used at genealogy conferences as an extension of the question and answer period where shy people might be able to speak up, and the lecturer could continue to answer questions later on and into the next day.
  • The Cabinet Office in the UK has posted a Twitter Strategy Paper for government departments in the United Kingdom. Interesting to see how Her Majesty's government thinks they should use twitter. Especially interesting was the tools they are using to track who is talking about them--useful for a lecturer to track what is being said. And interesting what they thought the guide rules should be for appropriate content--no mention of copyright.


relatively curious said...

Bravo, Janet! great guidelines and very well said. Thanks for posting this.

Family Journals said...

Fantastic recommendations! I know that I'm guilty of the "tap - tap- tap". Thank you.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Very good Janet! I think that "best practices" usually develop over time and through acceptance and implementation.

As for point #6 - think of checking out What The Hashtag ( where you can basically "claim" your hashtag space. Sort of like our Sooner relatives!

Lisa Louise Cooke said...

Terrific list Janet! I really like the differentiation between quotes and comments, the concept of "reporting," and sensitivity to generating noise.