Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Well played HCC!!!

Discovery CentreI'm referring of course to Hampshire County Council's live Twittering of the Local Authorities Transforming Public Libraries conference. Regardless of the content of the conference I think we all have to stand up and give a round of applause to HCC for making it accessible to the broader community. As well as a Twitter stream there is also a conference website and slides from the speaker's presentations are available. Video clips of the presentations should be added by the end of the week.

Here are some things I liked about the Twitter coverage:

  • The Twitter account was set up in advance of the conference and by this morning had almost 50 followers. Posting about the purpose of the event gave folks enough info to follow it if they wanted. I probably wouldn't have ever heard of it if it wasn't on Twitter.
  • The stream now exists as a persistent record of the event - almost like minutes. The links to the speaker's presentations were neat as well and by looking up @libconf (and reply's to @libconf) we can reflect on the speakers, revisit the topics and add our own responses. I for one will be thinking hard about Tim Coates pitch (possibly another post on that later!).
  • Hampshire R&HIT web team (behind the Twittering) explained that it was experimental and a new venture. Which set the expectation. That said, they did very well in reporting what was going on and even managed to respond to some replies. There were about 100 tweets from libconf on the day - no mean feat I'm sure with everything else going on.
I really hope they do this for future events and that other organisations follow their lead (mentioning no names *cough*CILIP*cough*). It shows a willingness to engage with the broader profession and allowed about 50 information professionals to get the inside scoop on something which, otherwise, may have appearred to be a very top-down conference. Yes, it's a shame that the speakers didn't field questions from Twitter and also that the backchannel from delegates appeared to be pretty poor but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Well done Hampshire!


  1. I will be suggesting to Hannah (YLG) that she Twitter at our conference in September - wonder if she can keep it up for 3 whole days?

  2. I think it's a great way to allow people who can't attend to engage with a conference or event.

    p.s. I'm sure Hannah will cope admirably :-)