I have loved attending library and education conferences ever since I became a school librarian. I love the energy, the mega dose of learning and inspiration I take back to my library, school, and community; the chance to reunite and network with old friends and make new ones; and simply the fun at every conference I attend. And, with all the different conferences I have attended, AASL’s are definitely second to none! But my conference experiences got even better–taking on a whole new dimension of networking, information, ideas, inspiration, and, yes, even more fun–when I started using social media as part of my conference 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 me 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, do 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 #AASL19 conference hashtag to follow what other people are posting. A search for #AASL19 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 if you click on the Latest option, you can see all posts in real time. I bet you’ll end up wanting to join in! When you do, be sure to include the #AASL19 hashtag in your posts so that others following the conference will see them.
On Instagram, follow AASL’s account at ala_aasl, and find and post to the #AASL19 hashtag. Please reference both @ala_aasl and #AASL19 when you post.
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 community post there.
What to post?
When posting on social media at conference, there’s a ton of options to get involved online:
- Share quotes, comments, images, presentation slide links, and other links provided by speakers. 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!
- 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. Your efforts will also help you earn digital badges. Check the badgelist.com/aasl site and Ashley Cooksey’s blog post about badges for more information.
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. Also, be sure to follow new friends and acquaintances and interact with them on social media.
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.
And, if you want to play a key role in making this conference’s social media richer, consider joining the Social Media Squad. For more information on that, visit bit.ly/aasl19socialmediasquadsignup.
Looking forward to seeing you both live and on social media at the conference,
@jane_librarian on Twitter
Janeflofton on Instagram