Thursday, 13 November 2014

Live Tweeting Academic Conferences

Today is the start of the Southern Historical Association Annual Meeting, one of my favorite academic conferences. Alas, I will not be attending. However, I will be trying to follow the conference on Twitter. It appears that about a half dozen folks are promising to live tweet the conference (#sha2014 -- the hashtag appears to have been previously used for a music awards show in Singapore).

Obviously, much of what goes on at an academic conference won't make it's way to Twitter or some other online venue. Much of the value of going to these conferences happens away from the actual presentations -- at the vendor hall, at the receptions, etc. However, if anyone wants to live tweet the conversations at the hotel bar, I'm sure that would make interesting reading.

I'm curious about the value of live tweeting, both for the person doing the tweeting and those reading the tweets. Will I learn more about what's happening at the SHA by looking at Twitter than I would by simply looking at the conference program? Is live tweeting a conference a glorified version of public note taking?

I'm curious about what others think. If you live tweet academic events, why? Do you try to reproduce the speaker's arguments in tweet form or do you see tweeting as a form of commentary and analysis of the paper in real time? If you read tweets of academic conferences, what do you hope to get out of it?


Because #sha2014 has already been used for other events (see above), the SHA is encouraging folks to use #2014sha.