As a career gal and recent job-seeker, I begrudgingly use Twitter to follow important professionals in my field. Most of them are witty, smart and pass along interesting links, but since they’re super mega important, they attend a lot of fancy conferences where they pat one another on the head and tweet about it ad nauseum. In years past I’ve been lucky enough to score some free vacays/trips to informative, relevant conferences, and I’ve succumbed to tweeting about it with requisite hashtags.
Don’t play stenographer and tweet the speaker’s words verbatim; it only ends up as contextless clutter in someone’s feed (between tidbits from @DRUNKHULK and @humblebrag). If you must, quote the presenter and artfully add your own insight or opinion.
Don’t try to summarize a speaker’s thesis in one tweet (or even in a series of tweets). 140 characters isn’t enough to give the gist of a one-hour talk or to give your followers any actionable direction. For the love of hashtags at least include a link to a video or article.
Don’t tweet the free after-events. If you do, your boss will know you’re only in it for the parties.
Watch your frequency. It is entirely likely — nay, probable — that you’re not the only tweeter in my feed, and the assumption that I want a feed solely consisting of conference tweets will garner you a quick unfollow.
Of course, it could be that I’m totes jealous of all these conference tweeters, because I’ve been to An Event Apart before and I know they have the best food and keep fresh Starbucks out all day. Or because I’ve been following these pseudo-lebrities for years and want to join in on the fun.
Because isn’t that the the very crux of Twitter? It’s a big ol’ middle school slumber party that you’re not invited to but can — thanks to the glory of technology — still see all the inside jokes. So the next time your boss sends you to Pompous Jerk Con (#PJCCHI2001), remember that most of your followers aren’t in attendance and might not even care about the subject matter at hand. If you must tweet it, make your followers feel as if they’re sitting on the hard, uncomfortable banquet chair next to you and eagerly awaiting the cardboardlike box lunch after the next session. And make sure that even your non-industry friends and family can find something amusing or interesting about your conference tweets.