Join the conversation at this week’s Annual Meeting

The annual meeting in Long Beach is rapidly approaching. Unlike previous years, the meeting will feature a social-media angle—and everybody attending the meeting is welcome to contribute. We will be running a Twitter stream with a dedicated hashtag, #Psynom14.

If you are new to social media and are unsure about how to get started, we have three posts on the Society’s website that explain the basics.

And how would one “microblog” a scientific conference, and why? In an intriguing recursion, this topic has itself been the topic of scientific meetings. That conference, needless to say, was itself reported in a series of quite interesting blog posts. A scholarly article on microblogging, by Ebner and Reinhardt, is available here.

I have attended 3 conferences recently that ran a live Twitter stream, with a dedicated hashtag, and I found it a useful and interesting experience. One meeting was large and had multiple streams, which made it slightly harder to follow the feed as a coherent whole. The other two meetings involved only a single stream, and the feed was projected onto a peripheral screen inside the meeting room.

Now, this could be highly distracting, but in fact it usually wasn’t: When multiple audience members capture a talk “live” into 140-character chunks, it provides a written interpretative record of what the speaker is saying—opening up the option to check back in time if you have missed something.

Being one of the people who tweeted talks, I found the task of reformulating an ongoing scientific talk in 140-cheracter chunks quite challenging but also memorially rewarding—talk about “deep” processing! We know that microblogs are particularly well remembered, and although I am not aware of any direct research, I would be surprised if tweeting a talk was not going to enhance one’s memory for it.

Add to that the ability to tweet links to related information (“the speaker forgot about Smith, 2012, who failed to replicate Jones, 1999”), and live-blogging is beginning to add real value even to members in the audience.

There is one other angle of microblogging that I experienced for the first time a few weeks ago in Oslo: tweeters in the audience were apparently translating my core messages into Norwegian, thereby ensuring that my talk crossed linguistic boundaries. Who knows, maybe someone will do that to some of the talks in Long Beach next week.

Join the conversation!

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