On the live-tweeting of talks

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Posted by Katie McLaughlin on October 13, 2015

“Are you ever not at a conference?” - twitter

“No, sometimes I sleep” - @glasnt

Actually, that’s not exactly true. Do you want to know my secret?

I don’t sleep.

No, that’s not true; I actually sleep a lot. My secret is that I’m not always at the conferences I’m tweeting about.

But on the subject of conferences: some people may have noticed that I tend to live-tweet a bit. I’m all about the freedom and accessibility of information. I love seeing tweets coming through my stream about conferences that people I follow are at. They are amazing sources of new information and keeping in touch with conferences that I can’t otherwise attend.

I like to repay that favour by live-tweeting what I can. I do this at local meetups, conferences, talks, smaller presentations; a few may have noticed a lot of “OH” comments as well.

The only negative feedback I get when I live-tweet is from people who don’t understand when I’m quoting a presentor, when it’s my own opinion, or when it’s just a random overheard comment. I oft get people trying to attack something I’ve tweeted when I’m in ‘journalist’ mode.

So, here’s a quick go-to guide about how you should be interpreting my tweets.

Note: this is just for me; others may or may not follow my examples. I try and follow these rules, but in a fast-paced talk, it might be hard to keep up the proper formats.


Interpreting live-tweeting

Direct Quotes

“Statement in double quotes.” - @twitterhandle #conferencehashtag

This is a direct quote from the speaker. Journalist headlines use double quotes to indicate direct quotes, and so do I. These tweets are when the words are directly on screen, or it’s such a captivating quote that I can type it out from memory. The hashtag shows the conference context, and the twitter handle attributes the person (where their twitter handle is known).

These are not my opinion. I may share their opinion, I may not. I may or may not defend their statements. But: they are explicitly not my words.

Indirect Quotes

‘Single quote marks, often with shortened words or abv.ns’ - @twitterhandle #conferencehashtag

These are indirect quotes. They are as best as I can recall them, or they encapsulate the message of the attributed speaker as best I can manage in 140 characters of less.

These are not my opinion. I may share their opinion, I may not. I may or may not defend their statements. But: they can possibly be my interpretation of their statement, and reformatted for the communication medium being used (twitter. See: character count issues)

Words

Words and generalisations #conferencehashtag

If there’s no attribution, then it’s most probably information I’m sharing. I act as a relay of the information, but it may or may not be my interpretation. Where possible, I try not to use this style, unless I cannot attribute the person in question (through a lack of twitter handle, or similar).

Overheard Comments

OH: Out of context statement that appears somewhat humourous

OH: “Person A says something”

‘Person B replies’

“Person A, denoted by the same quote marks as earlier, retaliates”

These are “overheard” statements. They oft go without attribution for anonymity. They are mostly humourous quips that I like to share. These can sometimes be me, but most of the time I’m not that funny. They go without a hashtag, but if you’re really clever you could work out if they happened at a conference or meetup based on the content before and after the tweet.