#LILAC14 – behind the #hashtag

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Initial thoughts

I attended the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) last week (23rd – 25th April) at Sheffield Hallam University. The conference is an established, UK based conference, with an international programme and delegation. I facilitated two workshops: ‘What does digital literacy mean for information literacy practitioners? Business as usual or a disruptive force?‘ and ‘Canoodling with careers: cross-team working in information literacy‘ with my colleagues Maria Carnegie and Vanessa Vivian-Shaw. Both were well attended and generated a lot of interesting discussion. I will blog more on the outcomes of these sessions soon.

My hope for the conference was to learn about good practice in information and digital literacy from around the World, meet and network with other professionals and to discuss the world of IL. I certainly wasn’t disappointed – the conference provided ample opportunities for all three! I attended sessions which showcased all the innovative working going on. The topics covered were diverse, interesting and inspirational: collaboration with diverse teams, engaging students as advocates and partners in learning, teaching e-safety to students, using games and active learning in the classroom and contributing to Wikipedia.

Behind the #hashtag

I used Twitter throughout the conference for a range of purposes, as did many others, using the hashtag #LILAC14. The two tweets below are from @briankelly and @librarygirl79 . These tweets collect together some of the communication going on around the conference on Twitter. They have put together the collections using Storify:

Looking through the tweets using #LILAC14 and thinking about my own practice, it is fascinating to see all the different ways that people use Twitter at conferences. These appear to be the main ways in which it is used:

  • share and collect links, media and/or resources
  • network, collaborate and/or ‘meet’ other delegates
  • record notes, ideas, thoughts and actions
  • discuss, question and respond to sessions
  • feedback to presenters/panels and ask questions
  • read about other sessions and the viewpoints of others
  • watch presentations and other media
  • observe other sessions and conversations

Twitter – my favourite CPD tool!

The interactions can become quite complex, with people using the basic features of Twitter (such as hashtags and lists) to interact in diverse ways. Here’s a few examples:

  • @durtante created a Twitter list of those leading workshops he had attended. I received an update on Twitter to alert me to this. I followed @durtante and subscribed to the list. I went through the other members of the list and followed a few other people. I will now see their tweets and be able to learn from what they share.
  • collecting together archives of Tweets using Storify (see example above)
  • uploading and generating content on other platforms (eg. blogs, presentations, open access repositories, social networks, apps etc.) and using the hashtag. The hashtag then extends far beyond Twitter and arguably becomes the main way in which people discover shared content from the conference.
  • I spoke with @briankelly (in real life!) at the conference after attending one of his sessions. This led to me following Brian on Twitter. I looked through Brian’s LILAC tweets and saw the link to his blog post about using Storify at conferences. This led me to look at his Storify. Storify suggested @librarygirl79’s Storify as related content. I viewed librarygirl79’s Storify and then viewed her Twitter page. Saw that I already followed @librarygirl79 (Claire McCluskey). Realised that I sat on the same table as Claire at the Conference dinner!
  • I have used #LILAC14 in the title of this blog post so that when it is automatically shared onto Twitter and LinkedIn it will instantly become a part of the conversation. During the conference I used Evernote to type notes from the sessions. Over the coming days I will go through these notes, tidy them up and publish the folder they are stored in, ‘#LILAC14’, to the public version of Evernote. This will then also be shared to Twitter using, you guessed it, #LILAC14.

The way that social media usage before, during and after conferences has exploded in recent years has meant that a conference is now about much than going to a venue for 3 days. Social media content is now arguably a key part of any conference with much of the networking, sharing of information and media, and discussion of ideas happening online. Harnessing the power of Twitter in this way is obviously a very valuable way of learning and could be useful as a CPD tool. The question is, if you are not using Twitter before, during and after conferences what are you missing?


2 thoughts on “#LILAC14 – behind the #hashtag

    ronmader said:
    April 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Love this! The question also is, if you are not using Twitter before, during and after conferences what are you not contributing? Don’t wait for experts to summarize conclusions. We need participants to be active nodes of communication.

      jonwhite82uk responded:
      April 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Good point! To get the most out of conferences you have to be an active participant. The whole thing is a learning journey, from pre-start to post-finish.

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