Anyone who has ever been to a conference knows how inspiring they can be. You attend sessions and workshops and learn from leaders in your industry, you sit by people who do what you do on the other side of the country or maybe even in a neighboring district, you exchange ideas and brainstorm new ones, and you return with a new sense of purpose.
iNACOL’s 2014 Symposium, “Powering Personalized Learning,” is kicking-off next week. And if you’re attending, then you should use social media! It is the perfect way to make connections and stay connected throughout the conference. Here are five social media tips to use at any conference:
1) Find out whether the conference is using a hashtag.
Hashtags work for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This is just a way to “tag” your post so when someone searches for a particular hashtag, such as “iNACOL14,” all of the posts using that hashtag will appear. I recently went to a wedding that had an official hashtag. It was a great way to find all of the photos everyone else had posted.
2) Live post from the event.
When your friends go on vacation, they usually don’t wait until after the vacation to post the photos. It usually goes, “Here is this picture of me and this sea turtle, and yes, if you FaceTimed me right now, I could show you said sea turtle.” If you’re at a conference and someone says something that strikes you as noteworthy—be it from a speaker or a conversation that you are having with hors d’oeuvres in hand—then share it (using the hashtag of course)!
3) Share others people’s content.
Not only should you post what you are learning and tag it, but you should also search that hashtag and see what other people are posting. If you agree, then let them know by “liking” (depending on what platform you are on), responding to, or sharing their post. Or if you don’t agree, then this is a great way to get a conversation going. Social media isn’t about your content, it is about connections.
4) Remember that digital citizenship applies to everyone.
There is a lot of discussion about cyber bullying and student interactions on social media. But I think everyone has seen that adults are equally, if not more, guilty of abusing social media. Conferences are about an exchange of ideas. Not everyone is going to agree with each other, but this should lead to a conversation, not an online boxing match.
5) Have fun!
It’s exciting when you tweet something and someone you have never met retweets it or comments on it. And it’s energizing to realize that you can partake in a conference-wide conversation even though you may not physically meet all of the players. You may forget to use the hashtag or accidently “like” something you don’t agree with. Don’t sweat it. Seriously. There is usually a way to undo, delete, or edit your actions (as long as you are being a good digital citizen).