Having a blog is easy. Using Twitter is simple. That’s why any idiot can do it.
It is also why the mere fact that you can use a bit of simple tech does not in any way make you a rock star. It does not make you powerful, influential, interesting, cool or informed.
It does, however, mean that you sometimes get noticed.
Being invited to conferences is a privilege, it is not a recognition of your supreme existence. Being asked to cover an event is not a declaration of the second coming, it is bestowing a simple responsibility.
DO NOT: Think this is an opportunity to convey your superior intelligence.
DO: Think about what will engage your audience.
DO NOT: Think you have to constantly tweet platitudes.
DO: Be mindful of balance, moaning all day long isn’t going to help.
DO NOT: Treat the hospitality as your God given right.
DO: Be thankful of the organisers and sponsors that brought you there.
DO NOT: Think you can duck out of half the sessions and spend your time in the pub.
DO: Give yourself and the audience a break.
DO NOT: Think your presence there in anyway makes you clever or special.
DO: Help inform those that aren’t able to attend like yourself.
DO NOT: Tweet mindless soundbites that have no context.
DO: Ask questions and seek opinions of a wider audience.
Ultimately it comes down to this. Don’t be an arse about it, but do be human. Nobody wants to follow a stream of ridiculously vacuous tweets and blogs that mean nothing and create noise. They want humour and context and insight. They want to get the feeling of what is going on. If you’re not enjoying a session, that’s fine, but if you’re there on the back of the organisation, slagging off their entire conference makes you look like a vacuous, ungrateful leech.
There’s a skill to being a blogger, that is more than knowing how to sign in. There is a skill to tweeting about an event that is more than being there with a phone. Next time you’re asked to cover an event, think what you can do to make it a success for other people, not what’s in it for you.
Useful reminders thanks Neil. I was with someone recently who said this – it’s about how we are in meetings, though I feel it applies in this conference scenario too:
You’re in a meeting, about to speak. Turn on your inner editor and ask yourself: ‘Is my primary reason for speaking a) justification (of my place) or b) to make a contribution?’
Ultimately it all hangs off your last sentence – who is your participation and contribution really about?
Have a great week – Doug.
Something else – I think if you are in attendance as a guest – it’s helpful to let people know that too. Be open about it.
“There’s a skill to being a blogger, that is more than knowing how to sign in.”
Amen. Time to raise standards.