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Conferencing this summer? Make your Tweets Sweet

July 10, 2018

If you are at a conference this summer and you have Twitter and you want to use it, send out as many SWEET TWEETS as you can! Sweet tweets: Not sweet as in the opposite of sassy; sweet as in...awesome. Tweeting from a conference? Make your tweets sweet with these simple tips that help you and your followers organize and consider the content! So...what makes a conference tweet sweet?   CONFERENCE HASHTAG Use the conference hashtag (#xxxx)! Make sure you slip the #ntprs18 or the #iflt18 or #WhateverItIs into your tweet before you post it. This is essentially a label for your tweet that will allow other Twiter users to find it along with any other tweet that is related to the conference you're attending. This can go anywhere in your tweet: beginning, middle, or end!   PRESENTER HANDLE Use the presenter's Twitter handle (username, starts with @xxxx) in your tweet, if they have a Twitter handle! This is like "tagging" on Facebook, and they will receive a notification that you have tagged them. This serves multiple purposes. First, it ensures that the presenter knows what is being said about them on Twitter. Talking about a presentation without mentioning the presenter by tagging their Twitter handle is kind of like talking behind their back. Hopefully, it's good stuff, but Twitter conversations can turn south fast. Second, it allows the presenter to engage in the conversation moving forward. If a follower raises a question about something that @MundoDePepita says while keynoting #NNELL18, Julie is notified and can easily jump in with a response!  Third, it gives the presenter an opportunity to check for accuracy. Perhaps you very unintentionally misquoted them, or your short tweet in a vacuum misrepresented the larger body of content from the presentation. If you have tagged their handle in your tweet, they will be able to look back through their notifications and read what you wrote about them.   HANDLE PLACEMENT When using the presenter's handle, make sure it is not the first word in the tweet. For example, don't write

@senoracmt students are passionate about "¡NO MÁS POPOTES!" (No more straws!) after digging deep into her unit on pollution #iFLT18 Inspire students to enact change by sharing the stories of our planet! #mardeplastico

When you start a tweet with the @ symbol, that tweet is only visible to you, the person you are tweeting to, and anyone that follows BOTH of you. In other words, it will not appear in the streams (newsfeeds) of many of your followers--you know, the people that want to see what you are tweeting about! A very easy workaround is to place a period before the @ symbol...or to throw the presenter's handle in the middle or at the end of the tweet. DO write:

. @senoracmt students are passionate about "¡NO MÁS POPOTES!" (No more straws!) after digging deep into her unit on pollution #iFLT18 Inspire students to enact change by sharing the stories of our planet! #mardeplastico

Disclaimer: I made up those quotes that are attributed to Carrie Toth, who really does have a series of amazing Mar de plástico (Sea of Plastic) units that have inspired her students to get passionate about ¡No más popotes!.   CONTEXT Does your tweet make sense to someone who is not present in the room, listening to the same presentation? A Sweet Tweet gives a little context so that the "ah-ha" or "big idea" or the question that you are sharing is accessible to people following the conference from afar. This is not solely for the benefit of others--it will help you as well if and when you go back and read through your tweets, trying to remember everything that hit you square between the eyes during the conference! Additionally, a Sweet Tweet is not taken out of context. When you send out a tweet, ask yourself whether it represents well the overall message that the presenter is sharing.   SESSION HASHTAG In addition to the conference hashtag, I like to make up a short #hashtag for each session that I tweet from and include it with each tweet. This makes it easy for me to go back and find tweets from specific sessions, because I can search something like "#afla16 #piqueinterest" to filter out only the tweets from Tove Dahl's session at the 2016 AFLA conference. This is helpful to me since Twitter is my preferred method of note taking, and when I have a vague memory of something that I heard in a session way back when, I can find it in a snap! This is also helpful for your followers that see a fleeting tweet that piques their interest and they might want to see what else the speaker had to say on the topic. It makes it easy for a follower to find tweets from a specific session!   GOOD REPRESENTATION While you might feel like you are at a family reunion or a summer camp with your besties while you are conferencing, remember that the Twitter world is not at that summer camp with you. As you are tweeting, tweet responsibly! A sarcastic comment or a tongue-in-cheek joke that is shared in the "safe zone" of the conference--where everyone has come together with a shared goal--might not go over so well in the Twitterverse. Remember that your tweets are not just representing you, but the people that you are tweeting about and the events that you are tweeting from. If someone shares something that is in bad taste, extend grace by not tweeting it out, even if it made you chuckle. We have all said things that are unprofessional and that we later regret, and Praise the Lord those quotes don't typically end up on social media! A Sweet Tweet is sent with attention to the conference as a whole and the presenter as a human. Tweet responsibly!   ENGAGE  Once you have sent out your Sweet Tweet, do your best to follow up with replies! This will help your followers share in the learning, and it will allow you to clarify your thinking and amplify the learning from the conference.   As for me, I will be tweeting from #NTPRS18 starting on Thursday afternoon and then from #iFLT18 on Monday! Follow my learning with those hashtags or by following me directly  Don't let my 11-year-old-profile-photo fool you--I didn't start tweeting yesterday! I'm a lean mean tweeting machine at conferences, and I look forward to sending out some #SweetTweets to share my learning with you! Follow Martina Bex on Twitter for everything World Languages!

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