Live Tweeting: Social Data Week

Social Data Week San Francisco

Social Data Week San Francisco

If the purpose of social media is to be social, then going to a social media conference, like Social Data Week, which I just attended, is a chance to really connect with those you’ve only talked to or seen online. Here are some things that have helped me to prepare for a live conference. If you’re unfamiliar with live tweeting, read You Too Can Be Guru’s excellent piece: Live Tweeting Events.


You probably already have a list of the conference speakers. Why not reach out to those you’d really like to hear before the conference? Connect on Twitter, retweet, ask a question, and tell them you’re looking forward to meeting. For Social Data Week, I reached out to several social media superstars. I was excited to reach out to¬†Susan Etlinger, Nova Spivack, John Bell, Nick Halstead, and Rob Bailey.

Educate Yourself

Conference cheat sheet

Conference cheat sheet

Dig a little and find out what the speakers at the conference do. I like to prepare a little “cheat sheet,” with conference speaker titles and Twitter handles. When you’re sitting in the dark, trying to tweet, you don’t want to have to dig around for names, so this really comes in handy. It took me about 20 minutes to compile all the names.¬†Knowing a little bit more about these people and having more of a personal connection, made their talks even more compelling.


The conference itself may have a hashtag, so make sure you have that ready, too, so that you can live tweet. For instance, Social Data Week’s hashtag was #sdwk13.

Say Hello

When you say hello to people, they usually say hello back: it’s amazing! So during the conference, introduce yourself. As an introvert, I don’t run up to every single person, but I do make a point of meeting a few people, and especially those I’ve connected with on social media beforehand.

During the Conference

If you’re following the hashtag, you can also reach out to those you meet online at the conference. You can retweet them, comment on their tweets, or even connect with them after the conference by looking back through the hashtagged tweets. You can ask them how they liked the conference, and of course, follow them on Twitter.

Take Pictures

John Bell explains: "The U.S. is highest in passionate advocacy"

John Bell explains: “The U.S. is highest in passionate advocacy”

Take more pictures than you think you’ll need. You can tweet those photos out during the event or use them later. Make sure you get a photo of a sign or two, and of course the people you’ve met.

What Do You Do to Prepare for a Conference?

Do you like to live tweet? Do you do anything to prepare for a conference? Tell me in the comments below!


  1. This reminds me of that question you asked on FB yesterday (I think it was yesterday) about having people meet you based on a geotag they saw on social media.

    I’ve never been to one of these conferences though it sounds like an awesome networking opportunity. Do you reach out on Twitter and say “Hey can we meet at x location” through a mention or DM… or do you just learn the persons face and hit them with the cold introduction? I feel like the first would be way more comfortable though I’m sure people do both there… What is the etiquette for meeting someone you respect through social media??

    Another nice one!

  2. Hi Eric,
    The Facebook question was from a discussion a bunch of my friends were having, and I thought it would make a good topic. I think women were more concerned with safety, in general.

    As far as networking at conferences, doing homework beforehand is a great way to make sure people will recognize you and be willing to chat. If they’re superstars, in particular, you might have to retweet a few of their tweets to get them to notice you. Some of the speakers had very few followers, so it was easier to make an impression. Someone like Guy Kawasaki with his 12 bazillion followers, isn’t going to notice a single retweet, probably. (I’m writing another post about that conference, by the way.)

    So yes, reaching out on Twitter first is better because people are actually happy to meet you. Establishing a certain level of comfort is really important.

    I appreciate your thoughtful questions and comments.

  3. Reaching out prior to the event resonated with me…why not use the social channels to do this? You can alps publicize a speaking gig through social. Thanks for the post!

    • Hi Allen,
      Reaching out before an event has been a successful strategy for me. And I hope for you, too. Yes, and publicizing a speaking gig works, too. And I find if I’ve helped others, they’re more than happy to help me, too.
      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Hi,
    What about the conference?
    is it online via chat?
    can you provide me more information regarding the conference? :)

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