Hashtag Networking: Getting social at a conference using social media

tl;dr How to maximise your conference benefit using three simple hashtags on Twitter.

Poster created by Drawnalism at ODCamp 3

You know what it’s like, you go to a conference that focuses on a subject that you’re really excited about. You might know people going already, but you sure there must be some fascinating people at then event that you’re dying to swap ideas with — Problem is, you don’t know who the heck they are. Not a clue.

Sure you might have the happy coincidence of bumping into them over coffee, but then again it’s more likely that you won’t.

Conversely, there may be people at the conference that are desperate to learn from experiences you’ve had. If you’re not speaking at the conference, how are they going to find you?

Here’s an idea to try and tackle this ongoing problem.

It uses Social media to help you be, well, social.

It aims to help you to have many fruitful conversations between sessions that will serve to stimulate, or perhaps grow into collaborations.

The great thing is, it’s also decentralised — think of it as Peer-to-Peer networking.

Intro over, let’s get into the detail.

__Intro to how it works

It boils down to just three hashtags — and they’re pretty self-explanatory.

#Intro

#AskMeAbout

#WLTM

__The hashtags explained

_#Intro 
A brief summary of what you do, perhaps where you work and your event-related interests. You can use #Intro a few times to give as much detail you you think necessary.

_#AskMeAbout
If you’ve an area of expertise that you’re happy to share, put the detail in here.

_#WLTM
If there’s a problem that you just can’t crack, or something you’ve been itching to have explained to you, pop it in here. Someone who’s at the event might find you and help out.

Examples: There’s a bundle of examples that should give you some ideas.

__How to use it

Stage 1 — Define yourself using #Intro.

Don’t forget to put the hashtag of the event you’re at too — eg #ODCamp — otherwise things might get confusing. This can be done in advance of the event.

Stage 2 — Offer yours skills out with #AskMeAbout and your desires with #WLTM

Stage 3 — When you’re at the event, just use Twitter’s search to find kindred souls, or souls in need of your attention using the hastags.

Easy!