I’ve been a conference “junkie” ever since I became a teacher librarian. I love the the energy, the mega dose of learning and inspiration I can take back to my library and school, the chance to see and network with old friends and meet new ones, and the fun at every conference I attend. And, AASL’s conferences are definitely second to none! But my conference experiences got even better, taking on a whole new dimension of networking, information, ideas, and, yes, even more fun, when I started using social media as part of my attendance.
Why? Here are just some of the reasons:
- I get to participate in a rich back channel, having conversations about what speakers say and reinforcing key points. For me, it has even served as a way of taking notes on sessions. And, as I do, I contribute information to my network, including both people at the conference and those who couldn’t be there.
- It keeps me up on upcoming events, get togethers, sessions, program changes, and more. I always appreciate reminders of events I want to attend and posts also let me know about options I wasn’t aware of. And, I can promote sessions to other people.
- It can help me connect live with friends and even find and meet up with those PLN members I have never met in person before. There’s nothing more exciting than meeting online friends live for the first time! It also helps meet build new relationships; I don’t just meet new people, we start following each other so we stay connected after the conference.
So, if you haven’t before now, add social media to your conference experience, before you get there, during the conference, and when you get home. There are lots of ways to do that. Here are a few tips:
Where to read and post:
My platform of choice is Twitter because it carries the most quick information instantly and is always the most active platform at a conference. But if you prefer Facebook or Instagram, you can follow the conference on those as well.
- Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still go to twitter.com/search and search for the #AASL17 conference hashtag to follow what other people are posting. A search for #AASL17 OR @aasl will display everything posted with the conference hashtag, plus anything posted by AASL’s own account. By default, you will see the Top (i.e., most retweeted and liked) posts, but click on the Latest option to see all posts in real time. I bet you’ll end up wanting to join in! When you do, be sure to include the #AASL17 hashtag.
- You can find the AASL page on Facebook by searching for either @aaslala or American Association of School Librarians. Read the posts and add your own there.
- On Instagram, follow AASL’s account at ala_aasl, and find and post to the #AASL17 hashtag. Please reference both @ala_aasl and when you post.
What to post?
- Share quotes, comments, images, presentation slide links, and other links provided by speakers. Do be sure to always credit speakers when you post. And, use their account names (Twitter @handle, Instagram username, or Facebook username) if possible so they will get notifications of your post.
- Share your takeaways, comments, and questions from sessions and other events you attend.
- Reshare good posts, and respond with your own comments when you do.
- Promote upcoming sessions and events. Definitely promote your own sessions if you are presenting!
- Be social: take and share photos of and with old and new friends, speakers, authors, and activities. Remember that posts with images always get more attention.
When to post?
- Start now! Share what you are excited about doing at the conference. Remember that promoting your own sessions is not only okay, but encouraged. And feel free to ask questions, such as advice on sessions to attend, who’s attending, and transportation and sightseeing information.
- During the conference, share before, during, and after sessions and activities.
- After the conference, share takeaways, kudos, comments, and questions. And if you didn’t get to post those photos you took during the conference, it’s perfectly okay to do so after the fact.
So, join in now. Make your conference experience richer with social media! You will do a service to those who can’t attend the conference or who aren’t at a given session by sharing information, takeaways, links, photos, and more. You might even win one of our daily contests for the best posts; stand by for another blog post next month about those!
And, if you want to play a key role in making this conference’s social media richer, consider joining the Social Media Squad. Get information, and sign up here: bit.ly/aasl17smsquad.
Finally, here’s one of those shameless self-promotions: If you want to come up to speed on using Twitter while you are at the conference, consider attending the session Katie McNamara and I are presenting on “Build Your Own and Your Students’ Global Personal Learning Networks with Twitter” on Friday, November 10, at 10:10am.
Looking forward to seeing you both live and on social media at the conference,
#AASL17 Conference Social Media Chair