Delegates attending conferences will often write tweets about whatever’s happening. These might be telling their followers what the speaker is saying, or what they think about what the speaker is saying. Some tweets will include a photo, others might include a link to supporting information or just put things in context.
Conference tweets typically have a hashtag (of the form #chi2013) added to them. This means that people don’t have to follow everyone who’s tweeting from the conference – they can just follow the hashtag.
For example someone might write that “Speaker X is talking about organisation Y’s attempts to address the issue of Z – download recent report here [web link] #hashtag“
Using a hashtag also means the tagged tweets can easily be pulled out, from all the other non-tagged tweets.
Event tweets can be a very useful snapshot of what people are sharing or thinking about at the conference however once the conference is finished the tagged tweets will eventually scroll down everyone’s Twitter feed and be harder to find. They can be easily captured with free tools such as Storify and Chirpstory. Even if a tweet is deleted from Twitter, once captured on Storify it will be there permanently.
Here’s a brief ‘how to’ guide for anyone that wants to capture conference or other event tweets.
You will need
- You can create a Storify account directly, or you can log in with your Twitter or Facebook account (if you have them already)
- Create an account at http://storify.com, or log in to your Twitter / Facebook account and then authorise Storify to access that account.
- Click on the green ‘Create story’ button which will bring up an editing panel on the left and a source material panel on the right.
- In the panel on the left give your story a name and description.
- In the panel on the right click on the second tab, with the Twitter icon on it.
- In the search window type in your hashtag, eg #chi2013, and press enter – the most recent 20 tagged tweets will show up. You can either select individual tweets and click and drag them into the panel on the left (you can easily re-order them so don’t worry at this stage) or click on the ‘add them all’ link just above the list of tweets. Adding them all is much quicker and simpler (especially recommended if you will be looking at many tens or hundreds of tweets). Although there will be duplicates (because people retweet popular tweets) you can easily delete them later.
- When you’ve been through the first ‘batch’ of tweets scroll to the end and click on ‘Show more results’ to bring up more, and repeat the process.
- Reorder your tweets (you can either have the most recent tweet or the earliest tweet at the top) using the small up and down arrow icons in the panel on the left, see image below.
- You can insert commentary between tweets – click anywhere in the editing panel to add a text box. One added near the top should include a link to the information page about the conference (see example http://storify.com/chi_med/tweets-from-come2013-communicating-medical-error) and use the link icon to hyperlink the address (make it clickable).
- Once done, click on Publish and share the link. If you choose the ‘Publicise’ option (which appears automatically after you publish a Storify) it will send a tweet containing the link to people whose tweets feature in your story. Sometimes this can be a bit annoying so judge for yourself if this is helpful promotion or irritating spam. You can copy the story’s link into a tweet and write a little bit of explanatory context before sending it your followers. We also add conference tweets to our ‘previous conferences‘ page, with a small version of the Storify icon next to them .
- You can edit the collection after publication – this is useful if people continue to tweet with the hashtag even after the conference finishes. In fact it’s worth checking a day or so after the event’s ended for this.
- Some people might tweet something useful but not include the hashtag – you can add these individually by clicking on the link icon in the panel on the right and pasting in the tweet’s own web address*. You may need to reorder the tweets after adding it though (rather than try and find the exact timespot to insert the tweet).
*A tweet’s URL can be found in the timestamp which is on the right hand side of the tweet, eg “47m” or “3h” depending on when the tweet was sent. You can also click on the tweet to expand it and the URL can be collected from the ‘Details’ link.