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Tweet tweet! Live-tweeting with style and substance

August 28, 2017

Live-tweeting an event is deceptively easy. Many do it, few excel at it.

We see it during popular TV shows and awards shows, about football games and breaking news. The best live-tweeters provide context and multimedia content that’s easy to follow and digest. I insist on having a designated live-tweeter for events I hold — it’s basic customer service.

To do it right at a conference or meeting, follow these tips.

Jen Barnett

Jen Barnett takes a break from live-tweeting Y’all Connect
earlier this month to share an update on Facebook Live.

Be prepared. Have a schedule of the event on hand, plus a list of speakers including Twitter names and links to their resources. Keep a charger and backup battery on hand: Live-tweeting may give few opportunities to charge up, and no power means no more tweets.

If you’re serving as the official conference social media rep, set up a back channel with organizers to share event news, such as changes in schedule and rooms or announcements about wifi and breaks. Log into the event’s Twitter account (and other social channels if needed) to test everything.

Pro tip: Have a text file with a few canned tweets and schedule if needed. These copy-and-paste nuggets can thank sponsors, mention upcoming sessions, promote sales and so on.

Tweet selectively. It’s easy to fall into transcribing a talk, but it’s better to summarize or snag the most helpful tips. If followers want a play-by-play, point them to a livestream.

This forces live-tweeters to pay attention and make judgments about what to share. It also opens up some good options. I’ve tweeted interesting slides; links to articles, videos and books mentioned; even editorialize on the information given by the speaker.

Pro tip: I’ve found it easier to live-tweet from a computer rather than a phone. It allows me to have multiple tabs open, and do quick Google searches for resources mentioned by the speaker. Plus, I type faster than I text.

Help with hashtags. Following the event hashtag yields plenty of tweets available for retweeting. Elevating the other live-tweeters in the room is important: It shows they are being heard and puts other perspectives front and center. I also use retweeting to give myself a little breather during sessions.

Naturally, use the event hashtag for all your tweets. And include other relevant hashtags.

Pro tip: In addition to following the hashtag, monitor other key searches, such as the event name, event Twitter handle, replies and DMs. The live-tweeter has an opportunity to answer questions about the seminar as well as basic event info (where the bathrooms are, if slides will be available, etc.).

Have fun. Live-tweeting is a tremendous opportunity to talk with a lot of people at once. We can provide needed info to both people who couldn’t attend as well as guests sitting next to us. Having fun can be infectious.

It also allows our personality to shine (even when tweeting officially on behalf of the event). Live-tweeting shows that we care enough to put the info out there and field questions in real time.

The tradeoff is that it requires focus and discipline, which takes quite a bit of mental energy. We’re almost always on duty, which limits our chance to network. And it requires finesse, balancing all the information and opinions with the needs of followers.

Try live-tweeting, and see if it doesn’t help you earn new followers and elevate your own status. Yes, it’s an ego boost, but service is really the key component. By sharing what we see and hear, we can amplify the lessons online and provide a record of any event worth documenting.

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