Why Twitter: Conference participation

February 7, 2009

cell phones everywhere

Everyone can have a voice and compare notes

Flight 1549 and the mention of Twitter in mainstream media was the first trigger that made me think, “Maybe Twitter isn’t an irrelevant toy.”

The second trigger was Charles Lee blogging from Leadership Network’s Innovation3 Gathering in Dallas. I get Charles’s status updates on Facebook, and noticed his frequent (and very interesting) updates often had #i3 in them for some reason. I followed a link he posted which took me to a “live” page for the conference.

The page itself immediately captured my attention. It was arranged into four quadrants, like this:


The video stream was live. I got to watch Charles be interviewed.

The chat room was live. Participation was immediate, because it did not require registration. I posted links to the things like Laundry Love as Charles mentioned them, so others watching could have them.

I’m not an active Flickr user, but I did try it once upon a time. I know that photos can be tagged, and can be submitted to a common group, so I understood that the photos shown were updated live as people added new ones.

Clearly, there was more to Twitter than just individual self-expression.

But how did the Twitter posts work? I noticed that each entry had #i3 in it somewhere. So that’s it! It’s some kind of tagging mechanism, so any posts with #i3 were collected and updated live, giving a kind of snapshot of conference activity and observations at any given time. Twitter a thought about the conference, and your thought is shown on the conference website almost immediately. Got it?

This piqued my interest. Clearly, there was more to Twitter than just individual self-expression. Somehow, people were using it for dialog and collective awareness. That did it — I created my own Twitter account that evening.

Do you use Twitter? What pushed you over the edge to give it a try? Let us know in the comments below; I’m curious what common themes we might discover.

Photo by Scott Ableman (license)

Why Twitter? series:

  1. Why Twitter: Flight 1549 and viral news
  2. Why Twitter: Conference participation
  3. Twitter vs. Facebook
  4. Twitter is not Facebook Lite

More Twitter resources:

Jon Reid

Posts Twitter Google+

As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to Why Twitter: Conference participation

  1. “just” self-expression? psh…

    • Nathan, I didn’t mean to put down self-expression. Because you’re right, even that is more than my outsider’s stereotype of Twitter as uninteresting updates on the minutiae of your life. My discovery was that Twitter could be more than an isolated miniature soapbox.

  2. Thanks for this blog post about the Innovation3 Live web page! We had gotten inspiration for this from #churchtechcamp, I think. Leadership Network is certainly glad to share the wealth of examples and principles of what is working to further effectiveness among innovative churches. Much of the content was recorded in video or audio, and our team is working to release that online for the good of the capital-C Church.

    • Thanks, DJ. Though I blogged about Twittering in particular, I was impressed by the “live-ness” of the various elements and how they might play together. And remember, I wasn’t even there