The predominant player at ALA Midwinter Meeting, at least from my personal angle, was Twitter. Though I have been using Twitter for two years, I continue to find more useful applications for this free tool. It does seem that Twitter is reaching a more critical mass, based on the meeting tag (#alamw09) activity, and so there is more conversation on the feed. In fact, I picked up about 50 new followers just over the weekend. I see two positive outcomes from the heavy usage of Twitter at ALA.
First, it made for a more inclusive and broad environment for discussions to occur. On more than one occasion, meetings being held in person were enriched by tweets from afar. Bringing in those voices make ALA more open and accessible – especially for those who cannot attend. Secondly, since there are so many overlapping meetings The Twitter helped attendees to be at more than one meeting at once. So yes, you can be in two places at once. In the LITA Town Hall meeting I sat at a physical table with eight other folks. We decided to hold our conversation on Twitter so we could easily log the conversation. Two things happened: more people joined virtually and, when I had to leave, I could continue participating from the next location. This provided for rich content and open participation. Also, see LITA’s well known Top Technology Trends program as it unfolded on Twitter.
Granted, this was a certain crowd at this annual librarian meeting. However, it played heavily into my program and activities by allowing me to participate more widely and connect more closely with my colleagues. Big kudos go out to the BIGWIG folks for testing out many new technologies (for ALA) and reach a broader audience.
For the record, typically I tweet about 10 per day but I spiked with 88 tweets on Sunday. Fun!
The City of Denver and the Colorado Convention Center made this super easy because WiFi was ubiquitous and free. It seems pointless to blog about the normal ALA-related activites because you can follow much of the conversation on the links above from Twitter. The one BIG downer from the weekend was my shattered iPhone.
Did you participate in ALA from afar via technology? What was the experience? Did you use Twitter to connect with others at the conference? In what ways? What application does this have for the further virtualization of meetings and programs? I’d love to hear from you.