Mark Oehlert thinks Twitter can be a good thing. Though I haven’t discussed this nuance with him, I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s not good in and of itself; what matters is the use you put it to and the value you get out of it.
Take live-tweeting. That’s when people at an event tweet about it in real time. On the one hand, I can see how that might drive others crazy–the presenter, say, or the people sitting next to the person tapping away relentlessly.
Yet live tweets can accomplish other things:
- They can help participants connect with one another. If you’re in a huge keynote with hundreds of other people, you really don’t get reactions from folks more than three feet away. Live tweets allow you to scan the reactions of others, even if you don’t send out your own response.
- They can expand the conversation: people will tweet links to related topics, the presenter’s site, and so on. This post is a direct result of seeing one of Mark’s tweets.
- They capture unexpected connections: a live tweeter may have special knowledge of the subject, or related experience, or what I think of as something relevantly tangential (as opposed to tangentially relevant).
- They bring outsiders into the event. During the ASTD conference last May, for example, I learned about presentations thanks to live tweeters, even though I was unable to attend.
So what? Just a few minutes ago, I followed that link Mark tweeted. It was for a tweetbook–a collection of tweets around some topic. In this case, the topic was the recent Open Government and Innovations conference:
How often do you leavea conference and ask yourself, “That was nice, but now what?”
A few of us were pondering that precise predicament at the conclusion of the Open Government and Innovations Conference (now affectionately know as “#ogi”) when I mused that we should create something called a TweetBook — a neatly packaged compliation of all the tweets from the conference.
Then I saw a series of seven blog posts from @pbroviak on GovLoop and learned that the two-day grand total included 4,423 tweets from 629 contributors that comprised over 150 pages when dumped in a Word document.
Within days, a band of volunteers (including some who had not attended the conference) produced the tweetbook, reformatting and organizing tweets covering dozens of sessions as well as keynotes and plenary events.
So the comments didn’t just disappear–they’re ready for people interested in the topic to use as they will. Like the folks at GovLoop, “a social network connecting the government community.”