NOT Listening as the Fly on the Wall - Experiencing Event Live-Tweeting

Julie Hunt

I thought I was going to simply listen in, as a fly on the wall – passively, quietly, undisturbed. Instead, I fell onto a fast-moving express lane when I began "sitting in" on the #scrmsummit event on Twitter.

I’m a new passenger on the Twitter ride (@juliebhunt) and I’ve never audited live-tweeting before. It turns out that several people that I follow were attending the Social CRM Strategies for Business Seminar aka #scrmsummit. Of course this event, over many others, would be a good bet for some excellent Tweetsmanship, since most attendees are adept at social media usage and passionate about social topics.

Very briefly, SCRM is a relatively new embodiment of how businesses could do a much better job of supporting customers and of contributing to customer success, as part of the "customer experience lifecycle" with that company. So the definition, ground rules and processes, best practices and strategies, are all currently evolving. Listening in on the live-tweeting for #scrmsummit gave me the sense of witnessing a significant brainstorm session for further refining and understanding the near-future world of SCRM.

I didn’t really plan to monitor the tweetstream all day but found myself continuously drawn to the ongoing conversation. It was sort of like being there: updates on presentations and presenters, original propositions, collaborative thinking, high energy, even the "goofiness" that results from sitting in a room with a lot of people for a long time. The live-tweeting introduced me to new voices tackling the very real issues of how companies could approach better ways to work with - and retain - customers.

Does Live-Tweeting Have Value?

Phil Soffer brings up a key question (with wit) regarding the role of live-tweeting at events:

@phsoffer: Over 1,000 tweets in 3 hours at #scrmsummit! Is anyone listening, or is everyone just a better multi-tasker than I am?

For this particular event, I would say most of the tweeters were listening, not only to presenters but to other tweeters. And just as any participant selectively listens to content, the same is true of the live-tweeters. But with so many participants cruising the Twitter express lane, a good composite of the overall discussion emerges. And thanks to Twitter, the discussion continues long after the event has ended and everyone has physically (and metaphorically) left the building.

On the other hand, live-tweeting can take on a cacophonous din at times – until you pick up on the rhythms of the main conversations and sub-conversations. Best advice: take a break from the tweetstream, then jump back in to pick up the latest threads. This is usually not difficult to do – after all you’re only dealing with 140 characters or less for each tweet. And backtracking is easily done.

Further Impressions

  • Love the stream of consciousness effect.
  • Enjoyed seeing the "birth" of unexpected connections. Some of the results may or may not hold up after further examination, but they are still creative starting points that may lead to other useful destinations.
  • Lots of engaged people connecting through Twitter may be greatest value.
  • The success of live-tweeting obviously is very dependent on the abilities of those tweeting to produce quality content. And it’s important to remember that the tweeter is providing his/her impression of the information being presented at the event. However, RTs by other attendees help substantiate the accuracy of the tweets.

Transcript of Live-Tweets Augments Value

Esteban Kolsky @ekolsky very kindly published pdfs for the two days of live-tweeting which are now valuable (and searchable) archives for identifying attendees, thoughts, content links, and a captured instance of the event flow itself. Obviously there are other Twitter-oriented tools that make the live-tweet content available as well.

The day I audited the live-tweeting, I wondered whether some of the tweets were isolated "gems" cut loose from larger context and therefore of limited value. The transcript actually ties all the tweets together with greater coherence and context. In this case, the tweeters were up to the task of creating tight meaning in 140 characters, partially due to the high energy of the event and also the domain expertise of the attendees.

Among many thought-provoking tweets:

@mfauscette: @CRMStrategies for me social biz transformation is about changing culture, the tools are only 1 of the facilitators of change #scrmsummit

@elliotross: The kimono is, and will remain, open! (so be buff!) @drnatalie #scrmsummit #scrm #customerservice [regarding requisite transparency of social businesses in response to customer-centricity]

@drnatalie: gaming industry changed the game of business. personalization is derivative of personalizing games #scrmsummit #scrm

@mkrigsman: Influential blogs don't push products but share intelligence and expertise - this will eventually become the norm #scrmsummit

@wimrampen: Sales is often in the blind.. provide them with context on the Customer's journey as to have intelligent conversation #scrmsummit

If you are interested in the #scrmsummit transcripts:

Final Thoughts

Here it is a week later and I have gone back through the transcripts and am surprised by the coherence of the tweetstream. The other unexpected effect is that the energy of the live-tweeting washed over me again. The tweets still make sense and context is clear.

From the overall experience, I have new connections and a valuable archive, and have found new forums for further monitoring. The generous sharing of the experience by the many attendees is much appreciated by me and many others who audited the live-tweeting.

I didn’t intend to travel this express lane but am glad that I was caught up by this particular ride.

First published on Call Center IQ