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Event Hashtag Etiquette: Overheard @ #SMXWest

<FACEPALM> In the past we’ve attended major industry conference-shindigs as one big live-blogging family. But dude, the aimClear team is expanding. Our 2010 conference agenda and travels to and fro might damn near pull us apart at the seams if we all went. In this quarter alone some of us will be returning from SXSW while others ship off to SES NY, some will fly back from the 140 Character Conference as Marty jet-sets to Sydney to speak at SMX… You get the picture.

Instead of falling prey to exhaustion-induced spontaneous combustion, we decided to send out a few members at a time to cull coverage from different conferences. Why, at this very moment our own Matt Peterson is covering the final day of sessions at SMX West 2010 in sunny Santa Clara, California. Meanwhile, back in Duluth- aimClear (like so many others) is living vicariously through tweets featuring the #SMX hashtag. All this hashtag monitoring really got us thinking: which conference tweets were useful and which… not so much.

As per usual, there are those who know how to successfully leverage Twitter for valuable session coverage and  those who casually tweet unrelated stuff which dilutes the tweet stream.

Since the folks at home can’t exactly tune out the noise when monitoring an all-encompassing conference hashtag, we decided to put together this DO and DON’T “suggestion list” for those in the field. :)  We mean no offense to any attendee mentioned here. We love your tweets, too. Everybody is beautiful in their own way.  This post speaks to what served our needs as we consumed the conference from afar and nothing else.

DON’T turn into a twelve year old girl at a Britney Spears concert:

DON’T actually answer the question, “What are you doing?”:

DON’T tell us you’re in a session and then leave us hanging:

Oy. Now, onto the goods. These folk take the time to tweet and retweet coverage that’s actually of value to the stuck-at-home search marketer. They serve as successful contributions to the stream of SMX tweets.

DO tweet session details (i.e.: Who spoke? Was it good?) to accompany links to coverage
@Echwa | Damien Anderson
@pcmguy | Larry Bruce

DO tweet a gem from the session along with a link to the coverage:
@portentint
| Ian Lurie

DO tweet links to places where we can get a collection of your conference coverage:
@BruceClayInc
| Bruce Clay, Inc.
@bbille | Brian Bille

DO tweet breaking news!
@KevinPike
| Kevin Pike

DO tweet tips and tidbits even if you’re without a link to coverage:
@lookadoo | Dana Lookadoo
@ProminentPlcmnt |Prominent Placement
@ravenpratt | Taylor Pratt

DO recommend valuable sessions for us to check out (before, during or after):
@balibones |
Everett
@Jeff_Martin | Jeff Martin

DO directly quote the top dogs even especially if it’s vulgarly hilarious:
@jordankasteler | Jordan Kasteler

And let us not dismiss the less conventional but still useful alternative ways to employ a conference hashtag.

DO wish well to those in the trenches:
@SusanEsparza |
Susan Esparza

DO bring us along after hours (so long as it’s PG-13):
@jillwhalen | Jill Whalen
@lookadoo | Dana Lookadoo

Well, even if it’s not 100% PG-13:
@sheigh | Sheigh

DO use it as a geo-locating device to reach out for help:
@graywolf
| Michael Gray

DO share on-going jokes about screaming CEOs with the rest of the class:
@jtyost2 | Justin Yost

In a perfect world, we’d all be right there with Steve Ballmer as he wowed the crowd with the volume of his voice. Instead, we have to hope those fortunate enough to be at an event like SMX West will treat the hashtag with reverence… or, at least, a sense of humor that actually, well, makes  sense.

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7 Comments

  1. chris on March 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    seriously, who are you telling people what to tweet? it’s a platform not in your control. maybe someones using your hashtag for sth. completely different and you can’t do a thing about it. sorry this twitter police post just made me somehow a bit angry.

  2. Lauren on March 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    @chris: Apologies if we hurt your feelings or tweaked other instincts. That’s not our intent. We’re not telling anyone what they can and can’t do, only discussing what works for us as we follow coverage. Of course, anyone can tweet anything they want. That’s the beauty of Twitter, which does not mean that it’s all useful to me.

    Please note the following text in the post: “We mean no offense to any attendee mentioned here. We love your tweets, too. Everybody is beautiful in their own way. This post speaks to what served our needs as we consumed the conference from afar and nothing else. since that’s the truth, we hope the clarification helps. :). Thanks for stopping by. Your comment was useful.

  3. Larry Bruce on March 5, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for including me in the do’s I feel the same way when trying to follow an event on twitter from a far. It hard enough to keep up with the relevant tweets!

    On the other hand I have to agree with Chris in some respects it is an open forum and we need to keep it that way. The last thing anyone wants it a twitter police.

    Tweeps just be mindful you are the citizen journalist and codependents for us back home we want good relevant info so if its just you keeping up with friends or not relevant to the venue, forget the hash tag.

    Thanks,
    @pcmguy

  4. Lauren Litwinka on March 5, 2010 at 11:50 am

    @Larry – We see Chris’ point of view as well. Not trying to be the Tweepolice here, just explaining the types of tweets featuring event hashtags that serve our needs as we track conference coverage. I agree with your last point completely: no one’s forced to append an event hashtag to their tweets just because they’re present… a main feature of the # is to easily aggregate thematic tweets, but “Eating a ham sandwich #smx,” for example, stands fine on its own w/o the hashtag :)

  5. Dana Lookadoo on March 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Eloquently worded. Hashtags enable us to follow a stream of consciousness related to the topic. What someone is personally doing can be tweeted, sure, but don’t put the hashtag on it.

    It helped that prior to the conference Danny Sullivan tweeted that #smx was the official hashtag to eliminate variations and to enable us to follow one stream.

    Following streams: Twazzup is my “RTS portal” of choice to follow #smx, and I had it open throughout the conference: http://www.twazzup.com/?q=smx

    Thanks, Lauren, for the mentions. It was nice to connect with you during the event via Twitter as well, second best to you being there!

  6. Lauren Litwinka on March 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    @Dana – Thanks for taking the time to comment. If I may, it was pretty unanimous- your tweet coverage via #SMX was truly top-notch. I know a few folk who had @lookadoo columns set up in TweetDeck specifically to follow along with the goods. Hence- you were *totally* deserving of the mentions. Hopefully one day we can kick it at a conf IRL.

  7. Dana Lookadoo on March 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    ahhh…humbled, gosh. Guess I was tweeting verbosely with proper hashtag etiquette! :-)

    I sooooo look forward to kickin’ it with you at a conference, hopefully soon!

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