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Conference Twittering

I wanna get something off my chest. Some people don’t like that I use Twitter to take notes at conferences. Several people stopped following me this week while I was at Web 2.0 Expo. I’m sad to see them go, but I don’t apologize. I get an enormous amount of support for my live-tweeting (see below).

I don’t do it as a substitute for pen and paper. I do it because I want to share what I’m learning with as many people as possible — with those of you who couldn’t come to the conference due to price, timing or location, with those of you who didn’t even know the conference was going on. The more we share information the more we learn, and the more we learn the more we grow and become more creative and create better products and become more fulfilled and help those around us. So it’s cyclical. I get so much from each of you and desperately feel the need to give back in any way I can.

So to those of you who are still following me on Twitter, thank you. And to those who aren’t: oh well. This is how I choose to use Twitter, and I’m not offended if you aren’t interested. After all, Twitter is an opt-in service. We choose whom to follow, we choose what to Twitter. What’s the point in telling me how you want me to use my account? When have I ever told you to stop doing what makes you happy?

P.S. @bpapa suggested that I buy whitter.com, but unfortunately it wasn’t available. I bought twhitter.com instead :)

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  • http://erielookingproductions.info Stephen Michael Kellat

    I understand where you are coming from on this. I appreciate your insights from what you have been attending out there. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.cennydd.co.uk Cennydd Bowles

    Hi Whitney – I'm one of the people who unfollowed you over the weekend – but I applaud this post. Use Twitter however you like; it's great that you're not one of those people who seem to live by the number of followers they have. From my PoV, I'm close to my limit of manageable follows and conference tweets tend to push the input rate past my cognitive threshold. It's nothing personal of course, and I reserve the right to refollow at some point :)

    There is of course the ongoing debate about whether Twitter should have a Pause function – interested to hear your thoughts.

  • http://xhipi.com Matthew Oliphant

    I wrote a longish comment but lost it when I clicked the Record Video Comment to see what would happen. It removed these comment boxes and there was no way to get back. File this under “pain.”

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Very good to know about that. I'll pass it on to Disqus. Thanks for letting me know, Matt, and sorry!

  • RyanMoede

    I for one appreciated your diligent note-taking on Twitter – it was super-helpful to get a thorough recap of the sessions I couldn't attend at Web 2.0. That said, I'd be in favor for a Pause button on Twitter for those whose note-taking on Twitter isn't up to the same quality as yours!

  • http://mariobourque.com Mario Bourque

    If certain people do not like it, they do not have to follow you on twitter.

    Do not change EVER, that would suck.

  • http://briandigital.tumblr.com Brian Christiansen

    Hey Whitney! I'm finding this post a month late, I realize. I've just met you at UI13 (a pleasure, would have loved to talk with you more) and even asked you about your conference twittering. As people who put on a conference, we're of course happy you're putting #ui13 into the Twitterverse 137 times an hour. It's good for us.

    [What follows is my personal take on this, as a follower of yours. Of course, it's a free country, you may do anything you'd like to.]

    As an avid user of Twitter, your posts can absolutely take over my entire Twitter experience, drowning out other people. If your conference doesn't interest me, my first instinct would be to drop you (and hope to remember to re-add you when you're away from conferences). This is made difficult by twitter not having things like temp-unfollows/mute options.

    Have you ever considered taking notes in a blog post, and then Twittering links back to it on the fly, maybe with a choice quote?

    “If you don't do research, you're screwed.” – J.Spool; — liveblogging UI13 here! http://xrl.us/fakeurl/

    [I'd probably actually type it into a text editor and paste into blog/twitter so that a) I had a local copy (backup), and b) less chance of browser crash taking out my notes.]

    Personally, this is what I would find as the most valuable information to someone who's not attending the same conference as you.

    Just my two cents.

    Best,
    ~brian