When I joined Twitter two years ago during the Blogging Archaeology session at the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting in Sacramento, CA, I was amazed by the conversation that was happening parallel to the conference online. The interactions between conference attendees and those that could not attend was less than this year but it was a start. Actually, I’d like to know when the first SAA tweet was sent out. If anyone knows, let me know in the comments!
At this year’s conference there were anywhere from ten to twenty or so people tweeting. A few were consistently tweeting every paper they went to. I was impressed by the dedication. There were a number of people that interacted with the tweeters as well. They were asking questions about papers and I even saw a few that asked people to tweet certain papers and sessions. It’s a crazy new world we live in where a conference like this can be dynamically interactive.
One difficulty with following the live Twitter stream is that if you’re following one paper, and others are also tweeting, the tweets you want to see relating to that paper can get jumbled up with all the other Tweets. Storify is a service that lets you organize tweets, public Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and content from other social media sites, into a coherent flow of organized media. You can even add textual commentary to help break up sections.
So, I Storified (yes, it’s a new verb!) all of the tweets from the 2013 SAAs. Since there were about 800 to 900 tweets from the conference it didn’t make any sense to put them into one story. That’s why I broke up the tweets into the logical blocks that the conference is split into. There are three blocks of time on Thursday (morning, afternoon, and evening), two blocks of time Friday and Saturday, and one block on Sunday (morning). Even with these small blocks of time it still took a long time to create each story. I tried to collect tweets and images from entire symposiums and individual papers so one could read them through as though they were sitting in the conference room. Ideally I’d like to have added abstracts before each paper that was tweeted. Sadly, I just don’t have time for that.
Next year I want to put together a fancy sign-up sheet on my blog for tweeting at SAA2014 in Austin. I figure a lot of people are going to go and many of them will be tweeting. I’d like people to sign up to tweet sessions that they’ll be attending anyway. The goal is to get all the sessions tweeted. This is not only for the people not in attendance but as an unofficial archive of the live experiences people have at a conference. I really believe in this method of interaction and I think it has value high enough to warrant planning and consideration.
In the mean time, however, you can take a look at the tweets from this year’s conference. I’ve included links to the Storified tweets below. Please comment and tell me how it should be done differently or even if you like what I did. Any suggestions will be helpful and appreciated.
Storified Tweets from SAA2013
Again, let me know if you have any suggestions. Also, retweet and share this post so others in your network can see the conference tweets as well.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field...and in Austin!