Live-Tweeting Tips & Etiquette at Academic Conferences



With the spread of social media networking, which is often equated to the speed of wildfire, almost no one is a stranger to the terms Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. However, being a person of reputable academic background, there are times when you would wonder if it would be okay to incorporate the social media element into the academic life.

Of late, academic seminars and event aren’t as “boring” as they were back in the day, with more animated and interesting presentations of academic findings and research papers, some of which are quite noteworthy and shareable with friends via social media. This is one of the main reasons why the question of suitability of social media use in academic settings was put forward, to start with.

To help with this conundrum, that almost all new researchers face, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of etiquette and best practices for live-tweeting at academic events:

☑ Find Out If Live-Tweeting Is Allowed
Some academic seminars do not quite fancy the use of social media during their events or even the broadcasting of their talks. Do find out beforehand with the organizers if live-tweeting is acceptable.

☑ Respect the Speaker
Although you may have some disagreements on the facts or ideas put forward by the speaker, you must always remember to give constructive criticism and state your facts instead of discourteously disputing their work on social media.

☑ Credit The Speaker/Organizers
Always mention the speaker’s handle and/or the organizers handle as a way to credit them for their original content. It’s not nice when someone does not give you due acknowledgement for your hard work.

☑ Use Designated Hashtags
Organizers may have their own hashtag in mind that they would be using to promote live-tweeted content about their programs. Always use these designated hashtags, along with your own favorite hashtags.

☑ Avoid Oversharing
Don’t give out too much information. Limit your tweets to one or two key points, at maximum. There’s a reason why academic meets are organized in the first place, it’s for the minds to meet, not for them to get smart via social media.

☑ Quote Responsibly
When quoting words of the speaker directly, always use attributing quote marks. This gives your audience a way to differentiate between the actual points raised by the speaker and that of your own ideas and thoughts.

☑ Explain Things
When live-tweeting, it is possible that audience outside your friend-circle will be able to view your tweets. Try to keep things as simple as possible and explain industry terms, wherever needed.

☑ Raise Questions
It would be a more engaging experience if you could open up a channel between your social media peers and the speaker, as they are taking questions from the floor. This would be a wholesome learning experience, not only for those in the room, but also those who may have not been able to attend due to prior commitments and such.

☑ Highlight The Benefits
As you live-tweet, it is always good to remind the people on social media of the benefits of incorporating of social media into the academic life. This would spur on more knowledge shares from like-minded people in the field. After all, sharing is caring.

☑ Have Fun
Don’t make your tweets drab and techy, always add an element of fun to it. Fun is the basis of social media and if you are going to present information like a dreary high school math teacher, no one is going to be interested in the points you make.

With these 10 rules of thumb, you’ll never have to worry about live-tweeting any academic symposium that you find interesting and worth a share to your social media acquaintances. Happy tweeting!