Friday, October 13, 2017

Tweeting and Blogging at Conferences

This post was taken from my Learning Technologies class, where we were instructed to discuss web 2.0 options that we use in our classroom.  I took a slightly different stance on this project as I do not work with students on an ongoing basis.  I instead choose to discuss blogging and using Twitter at conferences as a means of obtaining and recording knowledge that I have gleaned from the presentations that I have attended.
When I was a student of Library Science, one of my assignments required the creation of a blog.  Ever since that time I have used my personal blog to record information that I have learned along the way from school, from conferences, from my professional practice and from life.  Some of it is for my own personal reflection, and some of it is to inform others about innovative tools or techniques that I have experienced (and not always successfully).  One of my tags is Thwarted by... with each post discussing something that went wrong during one of my library instruction sessions.  Starting a blog is easy.  There are a couple of different options that you can choose from such as; Blogger and Wordpress.  Once you select your page layout and style, you can begin creating content on your blog and publish it immediately to the world.  Most blogs are mainly textual, but you can also create a photo blog or a combination of the two.
My blog is on the Blogger site which offers various templates and page layouts.  I appreciate that I have the option of editing and deleting posts that are no longer relevant.  I can tag each post with self-selected categories and I can view statistics for my page.  For example, I currently have 223 posts with the majority of them covering instructional librarianship and the use of technology.  I have had 7661 page views as of this morning.  My most popular post has 615 page views and was written about a conference presentation from a library instruction conference in 2012 on the topic of literature mapping.  The majority of my posts are viewed between 3 and 20 times.  But by who, I have no idea.  That is the one disadvantage that I can see to creating a blog.  Even though there is an option to comment, no one ever does.  So for me, my blog is still stuck firmly in Web 1.0.  For this reason, I started using Twitter at conferences to have more of the digital conversation.  For example here are my posts from a conference that I attended in 2015,  I used the blog as a narrative to record my notes from each individual session that I attended, but I also augmented my conference experience by using Twitter to share quick tidbits along the way.  The screen shot below shows a portion of my Twitter activity during that conference.  Although I am not a huge fan of Twitter, I do enjoy using it at conferences as a means of connecting with individuals who are also attending the conference.  I find that it is a great social networking tool in this particular environment.  I tweet key takeaways from the sessions or points that resonated with me during the presentation.  I only tweet positive comments and do my best to create at least two tweets per presentation.  I don't pick favourites on Twitter!
 C-EBLIP Tweets
The majority of my librarian colleagues are also on Twitter.  I find that we tend to use it as a professional network, whereas I find that Facebook tends to be more personal.  My director and my direct supervisor are both on Twitter, so it is a good opportunity to share what I am learning when I am at a conference.  They will often comment or retweet my posts.  At least they know I am actively engaged and that the funds used to support my professional development were well spent! In our department we are required to hand in a brief overview of any conference or professional development activity that we attend.  To this end, I am able to summarize the information that I have posted on my blog and on Twitter easily after the fact.  
For more information, you may be interested in looking at the following articles.  Both are from a librarian perspective, but general enough to appeal to a broader audience.
Ojala, M. (2008, April). The Art of Twittering. Information Today. p. 26. Retrieved from The Art of Twittering.  This article provides an overview of using Twitter at a conference.  
Calishain, T. (2016). Blogging. Online Searcher40(3), 42-45. Retrieved from Blogging.  This article discusses the origins of blogging, various sites that are freely available and how the content is discovered by the user.  

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