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Using Twitter Lists for Conferences


One of the cool features that Twitter has added recently is their list facility. Unlike some of the changes, like the horrible Retweet implementation, this addition was almost universally applauded. Funnily enough I only saw it in action at the last Blog World.

It might seem like a minor piece of functionality, especially when the core Twitter service is still quite flaky. Do not be fooled by simplicity. This is one feature I think every conference or event attendee needs to grap with both hands, because it can make your enjoyment and networking much better.

Lists allow you to group and categorise Twitter users. So some people might have a list for “work buddies”, “Journalists” or “CEOs”. You do not even have to follow the people who are on your list, and lists can be private for your eyes only, so there is some stalking potential there too. Companies are using lists to follow competitors and prospects without having them twig that they are being followed.

For pre-conference planning I recommend you create a list a while before the event. Follow interesting speakers and the people you would like to meet while you are there. My next big event is SXSW, so I have created a small SXSW list here and there is a bigger list here from Scott Stratten. If you want to record in depth networking information you will want to create a file, folder, or networking spreadsheet but for just keeping track of people, names, gossip and who is going to be where this is a major bonus.

When you are at the event you can see who is meeting up, which talks are looking hot, what is happening in the talks you are missing, and who else you should be talking to. As you meet someone new, add them to the list – this saves you from the post-conference “who is this guy and why is he contacting me?” syndrome!

Once you are back you can go through your list and see who you should be following (if you are not already), and catch up with people who you enjoyed meeting. Also, a list is a good way to see any follow up, such as speakers sharing notes and slide decks, or any special offer announcements.

What do you think? Do you use Twitter this way? Got any other pre-conference social media tips? Please share in the comments …


  • Michele McGraw (ScrappinMichele)

    That is exactly how I have been using the lists before each of the conferences I’ve attended. It has helped me to track some of the conversations of attendees long before I get to the conference and before the hashtag is used.

    The other list that I’ve created that I go to often is my list of local people on Twitter. Every time I follow someone and they are in my area, I add them to that list. I have learned about a lot of local functions through that list.

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