5 tips to manage conference social media

Keeping an eye on Twitter can be a great way to take full advantage of a conference, especially one full of digital and social media-savvy journalists. But it also poses the risk of information overload. There were more than 37,000 tweets during ONA 13 and the #ONA14 hashtag has already been used more than 800 times.

Here are five tips to keep up with all that Twittering.

  1. Lists. If you don’t organize your life in Twitter lists, this is a good time to start. A list of ONA presenters, for example, can put all the people you’re looking for in one place and filter out the rest.

Apps like TweetDeck can be a good tool for organizing these lists. Columns will automatically filter your feed to just the members of a list, tweets using a specific hashtag or other search results. You can filter out unwanted terms or curate a collection of tweets in real time. You can rearrange columns to keep the conference feed handy while also monitoring your regular content.


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TweetDeck can also be a good tool for filtering out spam, which started to show up with #ONA14 on Thursday morning. A post from NPR’s Social Media Desk explains how to filter out interruptions to your conference feed. Click the toggle at the top of a TweetDeck column and exclude certain terms.

Tweetdeck will not show tweets that use the terms in the "excluding" field.

Tweetdeck will not show tweets that use the terms in the “excluding” field.

Another strategy is to click back to the spammers profile and click “block and report for spam.”

  1. Know your H’s. If you plan to live tweet any events or sessions while at ONA there’s a lot to know. I find it helpful to keep a sticky on my computer with the basic info about the presenters in that session. It’s nice to have their handles handy and a place to write down quotes that I can reword into a tweet.

I think it’s also good etiquette to warn your non-journo followers to expect a lot of tweets on the same subject for the next few days.

  1. Look up. It can be hard to look away from Twitter when things are updating quickly but, much like covering a breaking news event, we have to look up from the screen every once in a while. Why? You might catch some color or expressions that are tweet or photo worthy.
  2. Curate. For better or worse, social networks remember everything. This is a great advantage for conferences because it’s easy to find all the posts from a specific session and aggregate them in a tool like Storify or RebelMouse. The ONA website will host some curation and you can share your own.

You can also connect your social accounts to delicious, which will automatically save any links you post with the tag !fromtwitter. Great for when you just can’t find the story you shared that one time.