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How to use Twitter to make your next in-person dialogue better
Friday, January 15th, 2010

At its core, Twitter is a community-building tool.  In this blog, we’ll share ways you can build a Twitter community around your in-person dialogue events so they are engaging, create a stock of shared knowledge and make the results more sustainable.

Before your event…

  • twitter-logoCreate a Twitter account for your in-person event(s), right at the start of the project planning and design stage.
  • Develop a hashtag up-front (#yourevent) so you can search for and store your followers’ tweets – before, during and after the event.
  • Tap into the twitter community to build a community, share knowledge and recruit participants for the in-person event
  • Involve your followers in designing the in-person event by asking for suggestions and ideas
  • Create a buzz about your in-person event by sharing sneak previews and breaking news about speakers with your followers.   Many will re-tweet these to their own networks of followers.
  • Just before the event takes place, create a site where live tweets can be displayed.  One great tool for this is LiveTwit powered by WordPress.

At your event…

  • Setup a projected LCD screen to display live tweets.
  • Build time into the agenda near the beginning of the event to explain the live tweet process.  People can tweet to you @yourevent or tag their tweets with your hashtag (#yourevent).
  • Encourage people to tweet photos of the event.  They help capture the moment and the emotion of the day.
  • It’s a best practice to invite members of your pre-developed twitter community to live tweet the event beforehand.
  • Alternatively, under a different design each table could be given a laptop and means to share their ideas with other groups by live tweeting them in real-time.  This allows for quick thematic analysis and knowledge sharing.
  • Throughout the day, facilitators could walk participants through the live tweets and use to foster additional dialogues.

After your event…

  • Twitter gives you a platform to build on the success of the event, gather feedback and leverage a community for follow-up action.
  • Shortly after the event, thank your twitter community for participating.
  • Ask for people to post feedback, all searchable using the #yourevent hashtag.
  • Invite your followers to tweet about what they are each going to do to follow-up on the event and what actions they are going to take.

– Ellis Westwood –

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  1. We recently launched ParticipateDB, a collaborative catalogue for online tools for participation. Here’s a list of projects that have used or are using Twitter: http://www.participatedb.com/tools/35

  2. Ellis Westwood says:

    Thanks, Tim, this is interesting. Great site idea and neat to see the work that people are doing! We should work together to add our Ascentum projects to the catalogue and shared knowledge commons.

  3. Brad Rourke says:

    Great post! Another excellent tool for making a live, on-site Twitter display is Twitterfall, which has some nice animation.

  4. Ellis Westwood says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, Brad! We’ll check it out and see how we could use it.

    Stay in touch.