It is Spring Break week here in Austin, Texas for the schools and universities in the area. Unlike most people who did a family vacation, I took a couple of vacation days to attend the local SXSW Interactive conference. From their website:
Attracting digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs, the event celebrates the best minds and the brightest personalities of emerging technology. Whether you are a hard-core geek, a dedicated content creator, a new media entrepreneur, or just someone who likes being around an extremely creative community, SXSW Interactive is for you!
I’m not sure about hard-core geek, but I consider myself at least in the ranks. There is also a film event and music event so creative folks are everywhere. My goal was to listen for ideas that I could “borrow” and apply to this blog, in other social media initiatives, or as part of the big, Emerson Exchange event.
The rapidly growing service, Twitter, blossomed several years ago at SXSWi. People discovered that it is a great way to share what they’re learning in the sessions they attend, to announce and look for impromptu meet-ups, and to ask questions of the panelists during the panel session. To get a flavor for some of these examples and more, look at the Twitter search on the tag #sxsw. This means that anyone who uses this text sequence #sxsw among their 140 characters of wisdom will have their thoughts easily found by others using the same tagging convention.
At last year’s Emerson Exchange, we used the tag, #EmEx. There are just a few remaining messages, but we had quite a number, from several people, during the event. I’d like to encourage everyone who comes upon this post and is considering a trip to the Emerson Exchange, to sign up for a Twitter account to gain some familiarity with it.
One thing I really liked was the sessions that used separate tags. One example is the keynote discussion between Guy Kawasaki and Chris Anderson [update: Longtail link no longer exists… details here.] on the power of free. They assigned a tag, #free to this particular session. There are 30+ pages of audience member tweeted notes published during this session, and during the following session, Rebuilding the World with Free Everything. The second session even put the Twitter Search screen running the #free search on the two big screens. The panel addressed some of the questions that came in.
Imagine being in an Emerson Exchange session where you can see your notes and the notes of other audience members streaming in real-time. Or imagine where you could ask your questions and have the presenter see and answer them in real-time. Or imagine where others not attending the event could also see and follow, much like the peek you have into what I saw at SXSW if you followed the links to the #sxsw and #free tags.
Now some presenters might not want any of this and prefer a “no tweeting” rule for their session, but I imagine many would love to see this level of interactivity. I’ll raise this issue with the Emerson Exchange Board for their thoughts on this.
The first step to making these imaginations a reality is for you to give Twitter a try, if you haven’t already. We offer a few tips on how it works on the DeltaV Twitterers page. Hopefully, you’ll give it a try so we can have some of the great, dynamic exchanges just like what I experienced at SXSW!
Update: I’m reading my RSS feeds over lunch and saw a great post on Twitter from senior digital editor of Chemical Processing magazine, Traci Purdum–Twitter Isn’t a Bird-Brained Idea. Glad to see more folks educating others on the value of Twitter!