How Twitter Rocked PubCon
I’ve been to several PubCon conferences in the past, but this year something different happened. It wasn’t that there were more panels and the speakers were better than ever (which they were). Instead, it had more to do with the conversations going on in the background — something I call the Twitter effect.
1) Networking on Steroids
At past PubCons, I was greatly limited to meeting the people I already knew (very few people) or taking a chance meeting a new person. If I did meet new people, it would usually be at a well publicized event and I would often leave only getting to know a handful of people. In fact, it really came down to how much energy and effort I wanted to put into walking up to complete strangers to see if they would talk to me.
Twitter and the #pubcon hashtag changed everything I knew about conference networking this year. By simply tweeting, following and replying to other Twitter users using the #pubcon hashtag, I was able to discover and interact with a plethora of new people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Some people were social superstars, like Joanna Lord of The Online Beat, who was easily the friendliest and easiest person to meet. While others were comedians, like Brian Carter of Get More Faster, who could be found at just about every event. What they all had in common was a desire to meet new like-minded people and to have fun.
There were numerous times where I would find myself tweeting in a session, only to find out that someone else I knew (and in some cases didn’t know) was tweeting in the same session. That resulted in numerous tweets about where I was in the room and meeting up with them after the session. None of which would have occurred without Twitter.
2) Real-Time Criticism & Praise
Another new phenomenon for PubCon was real-time criticism and praise of speakers and sessions — something SXSW attendees and speakers know well. During each day, there was constant chatter about how good or awful certain sessions were. The significance of this was that it influenced attendees to sometimes abandon a session for another. A typical tweet that was echoed throughout the conference looked similar to this tweet about a podcast session.
I was hoping the podcast session at #pubcon would be more than 101 level. Considering moving to another session.
While many others were much more positive, like Kate Morris’ tweet about a linking session.
great session for linking information. If you’re not in here you’re missing it. #pubcon
One of the most interesting things I witnessed during the sessions were the speakers themselves. On many occasions speakers who were not currently speaking were very active on Twitter and were often times interacting with the audience.
3) Event Scheduling
Unlike previous years, PubCon either had sanctioned parties or you had to know someone to know where the cool kids were going. This year the barriers for get-togethers were torn down (mostly). People like Dan Perry helped organize events like the in-house drinks and dinner party. The impromtu method of using Twitter to announce and organize the party proved to be very successful. Dan had expected about twenty people to show up, but word spread via Twitter and Bruce Clay (and associates) and consultants from Market Motive showed up in force.
The entire week involved constant tweets that went into the early morning, publicly letting people know where they were going and where the action was. Twitter was even used to help remind people when and where events were, like the SearchBash hosted by Live and the Charity Poker Tournament hosted by Purpose, Inc., Planet Chiropratic.com, EasyTweets and others. Twitter was also used by PubCon’s evangelist, Joe Morin, to keep people in the loop about ongoing events.
Twitter also helped me find and connect with friends that I probably would have lost touch with during the night. For example, Twitter helped me hook up with Brian Chappell, Ben Cook, Taylor Pratt and several others for 5AM breakfasts and unnecessary continuous drinking at the Breeze.
Lastly, I was able to also take part in some publicity opportunities, like the interview I did with TechZulu about Raven. I then had the pleasure of buying Chris Darbro, Amanda Coolong and the rest of the TechZulu crew a round of drinks later that night.
Twitter + PubCon = Rocks!