I’m excited to be on the Mayo Clinic teaching faculty for the first Middle East Healthcare Social Media Summit in Dubai next week. I’ll be teaching on the Social Media Residency Clinic which takes place a day before the conference and also delivering a talk on the role of hashtags in healthcare on day two of the conference.
Did you know that the very first Twitter hashtag was prompted by a conference?
So it should come as no surprise that hashtags are super useful for disseminating knowledge presented at conferences. As part of my talk, I will highlight some best practice tips for tweeting the meeting – which I will also share for you here.
1. Tag Your Tweets with the Event Hashtag
Pretty self-explanatory but be sure to use the designated event hashtag which should be displayed by the organizers. If you are organizing the event, keep an eye on unofficial hashtags. Sometimes, people tweet using hashtags that make sense to them instead of using the official hashtag. This shouldn’t be an issue if you have chosen a simple, intuitive hashtag and promoted it in advance, but it is still a good idea to an eye out for rogue hashtags and direct the users to the official one.
Let your Twitter followers know the meaning of the hashtag and why you are tweeting from the conference so that people have some context to what you’re tweeting about. It is good practice to let your followers know in advance that you are live-tweeting so they can mute the hashtag if they aren’t interested in those tweets.
2. Focus on Value
The true aim of live-tweeting is to provide value to others, so avoid tweeting sound-bites that won’t make sense to online listeners. Be selective about the quotes or insights you choose to tweet and only post high-quality photos and videos that your followers will find interesting. No one wants to see a blurry photo of a speaker or a slide.
Strive for originality and context and make it relatable to your Twitter followers. Tweet links to websites, studies, or other information which will enhance understanding of the topic. It’s fine to highlight your own expertise, but don’t spam. Retweet attendees and speakers who represent your mission and core values. Search for questions being asked using the event hashtag which you can answer.
3. Don’t “Binge Tweet”
Be selective, share key points only and avoid flooding your timeline with tweets. Don’t mindlessly re-tweet what everyone else is already tweeting, unless you can add a unique perspective. When live-Tweeting, one Tweet every five minutes is a good rule of thumb.
4. Give Correct Attribution
Be sure to attribute quotes to the speaker who made them, by using quotation marks. Whenever you cite a speaker, add their Twitter handle and affiliation if known (this is where those pre-prepared Twitter lists come in useful). Separate your own comments/viewpoints from the speaker’s own words.
5. Encourage Engagement
Don’t tweet in a vacuum; engage with fellow live tweeters and contribute to a larger conversation. Involve online listeners by asking questions; e.g. “Speaker X says doctors need to be more empathetic – do you agree/what do you think about this?”
6. Be Social
Finally, don’t restrict yourself to tweeting behind a screen; take the opportunity to network and meet new people face-to-face too. Live-tweeting is a great way to meet like-minded people, so use it to organize “tweetups” at coffee and lunch breaks during the event to further the connection.
After the event has finished, you can still add value by using a tool like Twitter Moments to archive tweets. You could also summarise the event in a follow-up blog, embedding selected tweets to illustrate your points.
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