Saturday, August 22, 2015

Etiquette for Live Tweeting at Conferences

Recently, I published a paper on the topic of “Tweeting the Meeting”, along with Dr. Janine Zee-Cheng.  In that paper, we briefly discussed the topic of etiquette with respect to tweeting during conferences.  I came across this piece from a few days ago in Nature about conference tweeting.  The blog piece describes two options for the “default” at meetings.  Should the default be that tweeting is allowed (unless the speaker explicitly asks attendees not to) or that tweeting is NOT allowed (unless the speaker gives explicit permission to do so)?  I am not sure of the right answer for this, but given how common this has become, I believe that conference organizers should actively discuss this option when planning meetings, and make the default answer explicit as possible.

A problem might ensue when the default is that it is allowed, but individual speakers who know very little about Twitter are upset when they find their content disseminated via this social network.  It begs the question that guidelines or policies really should be created and disseminated to potential presenters at the time that those presenters submit their abstracts.

I wonder how many scientific associations have formal policies about this topic, and if they do, how is that policy disseminated prior to meetings?  Maybe this is an area ripe for more research, and one that should be discussed among those who plan scientific conferences.

1 comment:

  1. this is all interesting to me - I came to your article via the nature article you referenced. I wonder...if conferences are creating specific hashtags for their events, are they not, in essence saying the default that tweeting is allowed?

    And yes, then the onus should be on the organizers to clearly communicate this to the presenters. For myself, at the start of any presentation I show a screen with my twitter handle, ask how many are on twitter, and encourage them to share out their learning throughout the session.

    I would love to read more perspectives and see more discussion about this. Glad I found your article.