I have a bit of a problem with live tweeting. That is, I’m one of those people who will live-recap any event I happen to be attending or watching. That might be everything from the Tony Awards to a social media conference to a not-for-profit fundraising dinner. While this annoys some people, it can also be a great way to build a brand–personal or professional–and share something awesome that’s happening. Sharing notes from a conference can help establish you as an expert and help you connect to other like-minded individuals; live-tweeting events like TV shows is a way of life for many blogs and lifestyle sites. If you’re going to embark on a live tweeting adventure, here’s what you need to know:
1. Warn people. If you’re going to flood your feed with minute-by-minute updates on anything, let people know. Heck, I even encourage people to unfollow me if that’s a problem. Nicely! But I don’t want to be a nuisance. Just put up a quick tweet which says “Hey, I’m/we’re going to be live tweeting this thing, so lots of tweets coming.” Some services like TweetDeck will even allow people to mute certain hashtags, so people who don’t care about the event can screen them out. Speaking of…
2. Use hashtags. Almost any event worth live tweeting will have a hashtag of some sort. Throw this into your tweets. Not only will it make it easy for those folks who don’t care to screen you out, it’ll make it easier for folks who do care to find your tweets. That opens you up to new followers, retweets and general amplification of your message. And isn’t that why you’re live tweeting in the first place?
3. Find what’s important. Don’t tweet the obvious. For instance, if you go to a social media conference, don’t tweet the inevitable soundbite in which the speaker tells you to “create content that’s worth sharing” (because it’s just that easy, folks!). Hunt for new and interesting nuggets, dig deep, offer your own interpretations and add to what’s being said. After all, you aren’t there just to report–you’re there to react, too.
4. Share the experience. Sometimes, like with live tweeting something like the finale of Breaking Bad, people do it because they want to share in a sense of community and have a common experience. With conferences and other events, it’s often because to share the experience with those who couldn’t be there. Make them feel as if they are by taking pictures. Snap conference attendees, a speaker using their best jazz hands or other interesting details.
5. Don’t be irritating. If you’re tweeting a TV show, don’t post spoilers. Don’t post every three seconds. Don’t be rude to presenters at a conference knowing they’ll see it. Make sure to share other peoples’ updates and respond when they talk to you. Remember, you want to meet new people, not just glory in the look of your own words.
Live tweeting can help you connect to your community and share great stuff. It can also be a huge annoyance. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Tweet wisely.