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We’ve all been to conferences.

We sit in the audience, listen to the speaker, and sometimes get to ask a question.

If we’re lucky others in the audience enhance the experience for us.

Maybe they discuss the topic with us when the session is over.  Maybe they ask a great follow-up question.

If we’re really lucky, we continue the conversation with them, and start new conversations, long after the conference is over.

But now, with tools like Twitter and Facebook, luck has nothing to do with it!

At O’Reilly Tools of Change in Publishing last week, Twitter added to the value of the conference.  It made the keynotes and the sessions come alive with comments, questions, and ideas from people in the room, in the building, and nowhere near the place at all.

The experience became multi-dimensional.

The speakers interacted with the audience.  The audience interacted with the speakers.  The audience interacted with each other and with people all over the world, shaping the conversation in the room, making it more targeted and more meaningful.

People who couldn’t attend could watch or participate from wherever they were.  They even got to ask questions and get answers.

Some might say that it’s hard, or even impossible, to pay attention to the speaker and update Twitter or Facebook at the same time.

It was hard to get into the rhythm the first few times I tried to attend a conference this way, but once I got the beat and used the right tools (Twitter, Twitter Search, and Facebook work for me), it made the whole experience much more interesting and informative.

Twitter has became my notes, my connections to others, and my window into the sessions I couldn’t attend.

You should try it!

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Ann Michael

Ann Michael

Ann Michael is President of Delta Think, a business and technology consulting and advisory firm focused on innovation and growth in membership organizations, scholarly publishers, and professional information providers. Ann is Past-President of SSP.

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