conference tweeting etiquette

“Tiny birds in my hand..” by ~Ilse

Conference season, or at least the part of it that appeals to my area of librarianship, is starting soon.

Up first for me is Computers in Libraries in DC, where I won’t be attending, but instead vacationing nearby (since it is so close) and visiting with colleagues and friends who will be attending. I’d go, but I already have funding this year for three conferences, and it didn’t seem fair to ask for another.

Next,  I fly to Austin for the Electronic Resources & Libraries conference. From the venue to the content, this is becoming my favorite conference. I’ve had to actively introduce more diversity to the sessions I choose to attend, otherwise I would spend the whole conference geeking out about use data and spreadsheets and such.

Finally, I head to Buffalo for the conference that shaped me into the librarian I became: NASIG (North American Serials Interest Group). I like this one because I’ve known many of the attendees for the entirety of my relatively short career, and because it works very hard to not be just a librarian conference, but rather an industry-wide discussion of all things serial in libraryland.

It was in the context of thinking about these upcoming conferences that I read the latest Prof Hacker blog post from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Ryan Cordell writes about his experiences with conference tweeting and the recent revelations he has had regarding the impact this can have on the presenters, whether they are active participants on Twitter or not. Many things he wrote resonated with me, and reminded me that Twitter — as well as other popular social media platforms — is no longer the private back-channel of a few techie friends, but is a global platform that can have a broader impact than any of us may know.

I suggest reading the whole article, but I would like to quote here the Principles of Conference Tweeting that Cordell offers, as something for us all to keep in mind:

  1. I will post praise generously, sharing what I find interesting about presentations.
  2. Likewise, I will share pertinent links to people and projects, in order to bring attention to my colleagues’ work.
  3. When posting questions or critiques, I will include the panelist’s username (an @ mention) whenever possible.
  4. If the panelist does not have a username—or if I cannot find it—I will do my best to alert them when I post questions or critiques, rather than leaving them to discover those engagements independently.
  5. I will not post questions to Twitter that I would not ask in the panel Q&A.
  6. I will not use a tone on Twitter that I would not use when speaking to the scholar in person.
  7. I will avoid “crosstalk”—joking exchanges only tangentially related to the talk—unless the presenter is explicitly involved in the chatter.
  8. I will refuse to post or engage with posts that comment on the presenter’s person, rather than the presenter’s ideas.

musicians & librarians

It’s been a while since I wrote here, I know. I’ve been off traveling the country, and I’ve barely had time to breathe, much less write something here. Nevertheless, I shall try to summarize.

A few weekends ago, I attended the National Women’s Music Festival for the first time. It was amazing! The music was top notch, and very intimate, since this festival is not as highly attended at some others. I was able to see some performers that I already knew and loved (Wishing Chair, Jamie Anderson, Ember Swift, etc.), as well as others that I came to love after seeing them perform at the festival (Kim Archer, CommonbonD, Jennie DeVoe, etc.). Not only was the music a wonderful collection of soul food, but the festigoers were a diverse group of women who somehow managed to blend together well. It was difficult for me to transition back into the “real world” after those few days of being surrounded by the energy of women together.

I had four days of relative normalcy, and then the conference marathon began. First, I drove down to Atlanta with several of my colleagues to attend the ALA 2002 Annual Conference. This was my first ALA meeting, and I was excited to be able to go. The high light of the conference, for me, was when the Indigo Girls performed at a fundraiser for the ALA Scholarships, and I was in the second row! When I finish the roll of film in my camera & get it developed, I might have some pictures to share. It was kind of bizarre to be in a place with more than 10,000 librarians, but I got used to it. The conference itself was disappointing, since there wasn’t much about serials or cataloging (my job in real life).

The next conference occurred right after ALA, with only a day between for me to travel. Unlike ALA, this one was directly relevant to my job. The North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) 17th Annual Conference agenda included numerous items related to serials cataloging, as well as other serials issues, and it was also great fun! If you are ever in Williamsburg (VA), I recommend a visit to the Green Leafe Cafe. Although I may have had more beer while I was in Williamsburg for the conference than I had at any one time in my entire life, I did learn a good bit about serials cataloging issues. I also realized how little I know about serials cataloging, despite having been on the job for nearly eight months! Well, it certainly has given me quite a few goals to reach.