Using Social Media to Get the Most from a Conference
Some of us are fortunate to attend several national conferences in our chosen fields each year and others of us are lucky if we get to go once every few years. Regardless of how often you go, you want to make sure you are getting the most from your experience. Below are a few tips to help you plan ahead and make the most of your precious conference time.
- Find out what the conference hashtag is. For those attending NTI (National Teaching Institute held by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses) next week in Orlando, it is #NTI2012. Follow the tweets to this hashtag before the conference begins to learn of special promotions, read what some presenters have posted about their sessions, find out what vendors will be present, and keep up with the latest changes and additions to the event. It was from a Twitter post that I learned of the cool new mobile app for NTI.
- Check out the schedule of presentations before leaving for the conference to get a general idea of what sessions you definitely don’t want to miss. Make sure you have a Plan B though just in case a presenter doesn’t show up. If you don’t have a Plan B, check out what is being said on Twitter and an opportunity may arise.
- Check out the conference and/or organization Facebook page. You never know what news or surprises will show up! Blackboard World 2012 launched a cool t-shirt giveaway during the last week of their early-bird registration. #BbW12 is the hashtag for this conference and even though it is still 7 weeks away, there has been plenty of tweeting going on!
- While at the conference, follow theTwitter hashtag to see what others are saying about the presentations they are attending. You may very well find yourself tweeting with several others in the same presentation. Perhaps the presentation you are attending doesn’t meet your needs but you can see from other tweets that another one just down the hall does. Assuming you can make a polite and quiet exit, you have the opportunity to maximize your time by attending the session of higher interest.
Conferences are a great time to learn from your peers from all around. I won’t be going to #NTI2012 this year, but you can bet I will be following the tweets of my peers. Take advantage of the social media tools out there to make connections, share ideas, and network for the future. The connections you make today just might end up becoming the doors to your future tomorrow!