11 Twitter Tips For Writing Conferences

11 Twitter Tips For Writing ConferencesMy people are the ones whose smartphones live in their hands, not their pockets. My people know usernames better than real names. My people have an innate sense of what will fit into 140 characters. My people put jokes in hashtags, because, somehow, they’re funnier that way. My people are the Twitter people.

At the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference this past weekend, I met a lot of my people. As is often the case, I also met a lot more people who spoke that oh-so-familiar refrain: I just don’t get Twitter.

For those of you in the latter category, here’s the secret you don’t know. The people on Facebook are your mom and your best friend from high school and your great-aunt Mary and your break buddy from three jobs ago. The people on Twitter are your tribe.

Tweet: The people on FB are your mom & your best friend from high school. The people on Twitter are your tribe. http://ctt.ec/L1d9F+ @jhtatroeThe people on FB are your mom & your best friend from high school. The people on Twitter are your tribe.

If you’re not on Twitter already, a conference is actually a great time to start. It’s a ready-made community to ease you into the platform. Over the weekend, I jotted down some notes about how to get the most out of Twitter during a writing conference. Here are seven tips for conference attendees, and, as a bonus, four more for organizers and presenters.

Tips for Attendees

  1. Use the conference tag. Most conferences have one official hashtag to help attendees find each other and follow along. Put it at the end of every conference-related tweet you post, and search for it to find other conference-goers. (The hashtag for this year’s RMFW Colorado Gold conference was #RMFW2014.)
  2. Retweet and follow other attendees. As soon as you know the conference hashtag, start searching for it. Some users will begin using the tag early as they plan and prepare for the actual event. That’s a great time to begin following your fellow attendees and getting to know them, even before the conference starts. If someone posts something that resonates with you or that you think your followers will enjoy, retweet it. Continue following and retweeting other attendees once the conference gets underway. They will notice and appreciate it.
  3. Put your Twitter username on your badge. If it’s not on there already, write your Twitter username clearly on your badge. It will help others find and recognize you.
  4. Find the quotable quotes. When you’re in workshops or keynotes, listen for the speakers’ most direct, concise statements. If the quotes are funny or surprising, all the better. You’ll learn to recognize the gems that fit within the 140-character limit. Those are what you should be tweeting.
  5. Attribute speakers. When you quote someone, make sure you include their name or Twitter username in your quote. Give credit where credit is due.
  6. Tweet things that will be useful to people outside the conference. Twitter is great for getting to know people within a conference, but the majority of your followers probably aren’t fellow attendees. Try to keep your tweets interesting and informative, even for people who aren’t at the event with you. It’s better to share a nugget of wisdom from a great presenter than to tweet something like, “Super-awesome talk in the Cottonwood Room. Check it out!”
  7. Turn off your ringer. This is a given, right? No one wants to hear your key clicks or the notification bings from your retweets.

Tips for Organizers and Presenters

  1. Promote the conference hashtag. Put your conference hashtag on your website before the event. Put it on the front of your on-site booklets. Put it on a sign at registration. Don’t leave attendees confused about what hashtag to use. Help us help you promote.
  2. Print usernames on badges by default. Ask for Twitter info during registration and print usernames on badges. Twitter is the best tool out there right now for real-time discussion and interaction, so make it easy for us to use it!
  3. Offer your username at the start of presentations. When Twitter users share quotes from your workshops or speeches, they’re promoting you. Make sure you get the full benefit of that by providing your username up front. It’ll make it easier for you to look afterward to see what resonated with attendees. It’ll also make it easier for non-attendees to find out more about you.
  4. Assume smartphone users are engaged, not bored. Once upon a time, if people were fiddling with their phones during your speech, it meant they weren’t interested in what you were saying. That’s not true anymore. Sure, the person typing on their phone in the back row might be texting their friend about lunch, but it’s more likely they’re your biggest promoter. Don’t be offended when the phones come out during your presentation. At RMFW this weekend, I almost invariably saw the mad typing begin only after the most wonderful of lines.

Tweet: 11 Twitter Tips for Conference-Goers (and Organizers Too!) http://ctt.ec/a7_Z111 Twitter Tips for Conference-Goers (and Organizers Too!) from @jhtatroe

Have you ever tweeted a conference? Tell me about your experiences in the comments! Or, if you want, follow me on Twitter @jhtatroe.

Advertisements

Five Reasons Writers Need Other Writers – a guest post by Jamie Raintree


5 Reasons Writers Need Other Writers

In just a short two and a half weeks, I’ll be heading off to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference, a regional but well-established and well-recognized conference for writers. This will be my second time going and I’m looking forward to seeing Jennifer there, for her first time in attendance as I understand it. Last year was my first time ever attending a conference and now I’m addicted. Apparently, this is a common phenomenon in the writing world.

Last year was my first time and I met some people the that I’ve talked to on a daily basis since then, some weekly. A few of us formed a critique group that has since seen two of us go from unagented to agented, one of us have two successful book launches, and one of us even hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer at a local book event and I have other local writer friends, as well as an innumerable amount online.

When I finally landed my agent, I sent so much loving thanks to all of them because I truly believe I wouldn’t have gotten here without them, regardless of how much time I spent writing or the quality of my storytelling.

Writing is no longer a lonely business now that we have access to thousands of other writers online and in our local communities and I’m thankful for that. In order to be successful writer in the current publishing world, it’s imperative to connect and lean on each other. Just like any successful business, no one thrives in a vacuum.

Here are some of the reasons I’ve come to depend on the writing community, and why you should too:

  1. Emotional Support. If for no other reason, here’s why you need writers in your life: when you talk about how hard this life is, and how frustrated you are, and how you’re not sure if all this work is worth it, only other writers can say “I understand” and actually mean it. They tell you we all feel that way, that it is worth it, and to keep going. And when you finally hit that goal you’ve been working toward, they’re the first to celebrate your achievement…and they’re often the loudest.
  2. Resources. I’m not sure if I would know what a query letter even was if I didn’t have other writers to point me in the right direction. Or how to outline. Or which book to read to learn how to outline. Spending time with writers who are at your stage in the process or further along are a great resource in themselves for knowing what the next steps are, and they’re always willing to share what they’ve learned to help you get there.
  3. Feedback. Because there is no substitute for getting specific and educated feedback on your writing itself. My prose and storytelling grew by leaps and bounds once I started having other writers read my work. Reading other writers’ work is beneficial too because we often see the mistakes we make in others’ work easier than in our own.
  4. Networking. Once you get to the point that you’re ready to put yourself out there, writers have already paved the way on blogs, with agents, with publishers, and with book stores. And they’re more than happy to team up with you on promotion or refer you to right people. In an industry that can often be intimidating to get into and hard to get your name out in, writer connections make it a lot easier.
  5. Friendship. Who else in the world can sit across from you while you’re on your laptop and she’s on hers, and though you’re not talking to each other, you feel completely fulfilled in her company? A writer, that’s who. There’s this thing about writers that only other writers understand and it’s our commitment to our life’s passion. Often times, people who don’t have a passion for what they do don’t quite understand why our entire lives revolve around writing, why it’s our job and our hobby, why it’s what we do during all our “free time.” But writers do. And they even let us talk about it as much as we want.

“There’s this thing about writers that only other writers understand…”

 

 

As the conference gets ever closer, I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. These are the people who have pulled me up and cheered me on over the past ten years, and these are the people I know I can count on for the rest of my career. What does the writing community mean to you?

 

Jamie RaintreeJamie Raintree writes Women’s Fiction about women searching for truth in life and love. She is currently working on revisions of her first novel in preparation for submission to publishers. In the meantime, she blogs about her journey toward a well-balanced life and a career in publishing–her struggles and successes along the way. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two young daughters and is a Workshop Coordinator for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She is represented by Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary. Find Jamie online at http://jamieraintree.com.