Tomorrow I’m attending Social Media Influence, which last year was called Blogging4Business, in London. I’m hoping the back channel will, as it has often been, an important part of participation at this particular conference.
Here some tips I’ve come up with to help make it easier to track and participate in the back channel at conferences:
1. Make sure you’ve got all the kit you need and are subscribed to all the services you might want to use. The essentials pieces of kit you’ll want are:
- laptop with full battery
- mobile, preferably with good camera and usb charger
- optional: digital camera, microphone, recording device, video camera
The essential services you’ll want to be subscribed to or familiar with are:
- an rss reader (if you don’t use RSS yet see this explanation)
- flickr (for photos) and a video sharing service (youtube, bliptv, qik, etc)
- optional: a blog, friendfeed, del.icio.us
2. Figure out what the conference tag is going to be and use it. Some conference organisers are starting to announce the conference tag in advance. In the case of Social Media Influence, a twitter account with the name SMIuk08 has been set up so I’m assuming that’s the tag they will want people to use as well.
3. Get a placeholder post, tweet or photo online early so that other people arriving at the conference, or prepping for it in advance, will find you. Make sure you use the conference tag and link to the conference web page in this post to help people find you.
4. Create your backchannel aggregator (or find someone else’s) using Yahoo Pipes (full fat) or Xfruits (easy). Basically, you’ll want to set up searches for the conference tag, name and url on technorati, icerocket, flickr, tweetscan and elsewhere you think that content might pop up. Here’s my backchannel aggregator for social media influence. Below is a badge you can grab and put on your own blog.
5. Use the appropriate service for the content you create – don’t just put it all on your own blog, participate widely. What I mean is, if you take photos, put them on flickr, tag them, then link back to your blog post. Use twitter to tell people about new posts or to make short comments. Cross post your tweets to facebook, jaiku and friendfeed. You’re creating content – get it noticed by spreading it around and linking back to base.
6. Follow @hashtags on twitter and use the hashtags system to index your event related tweets. I’ve got both #SMIuk08 and #socialmediainfluence set up and in the aggregator but don’t know which people will want to use – let me know and I’ll update this post.
7. As you find other people blogging or otherwise participating in the backchannel, make sure you quote from and link back to them. They’ll probably be watching technorati and their statcounter so will see your inbound links and any traffic you send them.
8. Consider creating an aggregation of the official blog, twitter and any other streams of official content with the blogs of the speakers. xfruits is useful for doing this very quickly.
9. Use audio and video to save your hands. I wrote nearly 8000 words at Le Web 3 and my hands didn’t recover for several weeks. Shooting photos or video on your phone, or recording audio for upload, is far less intensive than live blogging. Protect your livelihood and think of your hands.
10. Get some moo cards to spread the word about your blog. Tell people how you’re covering it and where.