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12 tips for live tweeting a conference

You know that feeling, when you’ve been concentrating so hard for so long that when you finally hit your pillow at night your brain still has a million tabs open and you feel like you sort of need a “control, alt, delete” function?

That.

Over the past two weeks Liz and I have been crazy busy live tweeting two very different, very interesting conferences: the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in Cape Town, and the South African Impact Investing Network in Joburg.

Today is the first day we’ve been able to sit down, see each other’s faces, and fill each other in on February, basically.

Part of that “filling in” involved compiling our top 12 tips on live tweeting a conference – just for you. You’re welcome.

1. Turn on your Twitter analytics before the conference starts. *cough* Liz. *cough*.

2. Use a platform like Tweetdeck which allows you to see columns of ALL the things at once: your feed, your mentions, your notifications, the conference hashtag, replies, messages, etc. In the beginning it will feel like you’re sitting behind a control desk of a big plane. But you sort of are – do NOT crash the conference.

3. Make sure that the handle you’re tweeting from and the official hashtag are displayed somewhere prominent at the venue, and everywhere else you can get them – on the website, in the brochures, just in people’s faces. You don’t want to miss out on some tweets because people are using the wrong hashtag.

4. If the AV set-up allows it, use a programme like TweetBeam to project all conference tweets onto a screen. Just plug in the hashtag and you’re set.

5. Things will be hectic. Your fingers have never moved as fast as they will when you’re live tweeting. Do yourself a favour and schedule some tweets ahead of time, letting people know about upcoming talks, breakaways, etc.

6. Visual elements stand out in a Twitter feed. Make sure you tweet some photos of the event every so often and tag the speakers/delegates/sponsors if you know their handles. You’re more likely to earn retweets this way.

7. Live tweeting doesn’t mean you’re required to take a live dictation of the event. Know what to tweet and what not to.

8. Make friends with people who are tweeting well and see how you can complement each other (with an “e” – not as in “that is such an interesting hair colour…” Rather, how can you work together?)

9. Daily blog round-ups are a great way to sum-up the day and share on Twitter.

10. Make a plan to have back-up 3G. If the internet goes down, you’re screwed.

11. Where possible, avoid using a laptop that is on its last legs as it will overheat on your lap and you will get what feels like third-degree burns on your legs.

12. Be a boy scout. Always be prepared. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you – in terms of a logistical challenge or otherwise. Be creative in figuring out solutions. Case in point: This very profesh group photo taken by Liz at the AMI.

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How? Like this.
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WordCamp 2014: A summary

Going to WordCamp was a bit of a last minute decision – but one I’m so glad we made.

Having worked on WordPress for about a year and a half now, we feel fairly comfortable with the platform, but we liked the idea of broadening our WordPress horizons somewhat and seeing what the frontrunners in our industry are up to. So we registered and went along not really knowing what to expect.

First impression: So many guys. So many guys in one room – in Cape Town. Seriously, I kept marvelling at the sheer number of them throughout the day. It was weird. But not entirely unpleasant. Let’s just say there is a reason they call it “bro-gramming”.

Coming from a words background, it really drove home the fact that we approach website creation so differently. We start with the story – how are you different from the competition? What picture do you want to paint of who you are and what you do in a way that sets you apart?

It was interesting to see that, while we are comfortable with WordPress, the hardcore coding side of things is not our strongpoint – and that’s ok. Because we have something to offer that is a lot less common in the “bro-gramming” scene: writing and communication skills. Having chatted to a few developers and speakers from the conference, it was exciting to see how we fit into this world and the role we would like to carve out for ourselves.

We found the talks really interesting and entertaining (nerd humour included), and, being women, felt the need to talk-all-about-it-and-how-inspired-we-felt after each one.

We took so much from the talks, in fact, that we’ll be running a series of blog posts over the next little while, as there is just too much to communicate all at once.

But we left the conference full of ideas and chuffed at the networking opportunities the day afforded us.

For now, here is a brief summary:

Organisation: Great – Liz especially loved the goodie bag and struggled to play it cool in the beginning. Thanks WooThemes!

Speakers: Awesome – especially Tomaž Zaman, Founder / CTO, Head of Product Development at Codeable.

MCs: Hilarious. Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues – you guys definitely added another dimension to the standard conference vibe.

Catering: Delicious. Sarah particularly loved the doughnuts. And popcorn. And muffins. And chicken kebabs.

Thanks WordCamp – I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again in 2015!

To see all the tweets from the conference and the nuggets of wisdom people took home, check out #wcct.

Liz and her hipster briefcase at the awesome venue - Greenpoint Stadium

Liz and her hipster briefcase at the awesome venue – Greenpoint Stadium

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