Friday, August 24, 2012

Conference season in Twitterland

In the next few weeks there are several conferences with wastewater foci and I'm planning to be at a couple of them. First up will be the International Water Association world water congress in Busan. Wait a minute! Did I just see they have an iPad app for the conference? Plus they have a Facebook site (of course), a LinkedIn group and their own hash tag, #iwa2012busan for Twitter! Wow, technology comes to conferences in a big way! Of course, being the geek that I am I must try them out!
Last year we tried using twitter for Q&A at the IWA/WEF Nutrient conference (#nr2011 if you're interested) with the intent that younger water professionals might feel less intimidated and submit their questions during the Q&A. In that respect it was a bit of a failure as the usual senior folks dominated the tweets as much as they liked to hog the mike during the verbal Q&A. What it turned into was more of a set of side conversations, which was OK and added a new dimension to the conference reminiscent of the days when conferences had more heated discussions and back and forth dialogue.

We tried a similar thing for #wwtmod2012 which worked OK but the folks hogging the mike stuck more with their traditional mike-hogging at that conference and didn't contribute as much to the twittering!

In 2011 and again in 2012 WEFTEC will be tweeting away on #WEFTEC. If last year is anything to go by it will mostly be used by vendors encouraging people to look at their stands and a few folks tweeting comments on the technical sessions. That's cool I suppose.

It will be interesting to see how these conferences make use of Twitter and other social media and how the attendees take to them.


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