Last week I took part in a communication sciences conference here at Jyväskylä called Fincom 2012. The conference was organized by our Department, and I was also part of the organizing committee. This time around, I got the special treat of being responsible for our social media coverage. We had two students cover our Facebook page, Twitter feed (under the name Fincom2012) and blog roll at the home page of the conference, and I have to say that it went tremendously well! We also had a lot of active tweeting going on even without the official tweeters, so that the conference had a lively backchannel all the time. We also used Twitter for questions from the audience during a panel, even though we went old school and did not present a continuously updating message feed on the background of the panel discussion itself. We also had a go at a simple conference game where the participants were supposed to try and find the official tweeters (who were anonymous), but unfortunately this didn’t pan out the way I had hoped it to. Well, another conference, another conference game, eh?
While I am not the biggest Twitter user out there, I really enjoy tweeting during conferences. Of course one has to be moderate and not tweet everything and all the time, because quite frankly that will take away from, you know, actually listening to the presentations. But the possibility of “seeing” what is going on in another conference track can be really valuable, and for example in the case of plenaries there is often a real discussion going on in the background.
What I also enjoy is having multiple roles in a conference. In Fincom 2012 I was a part of the organizing committee, as well as a session chair and a presenter in another session. When I go to a conference I like to go “all out” and just enjoy the experience. Conferences, to me, are one of the best parts of this job.
Having said that, I have to note that unfortunately this year will be a bit light on conferences. I will travel to ECREA Istanbul later on this autumn, but otherwise it looks like I will be mostly teaching and writing in the following months.