Don’t speak! Etiquette advice for socially-awkward conference delegates

Don't speak (on social) unless you have something worth saying

So you’re attending a conference. You’ve been given time off work. Maybe you had to fly to get there. You’re staying in a flash hotel. Your company’s probably even paying for it. Cool.

These days it would be tough to identify a conference that doesn’t encourage delegates to engage through social media. Hashtags are an event staple and conference apps commonly provide social media functionality.

A word of advice: Be careful not to get so swept up in the excitement of the event that you lose sight of the bigger picture: the audience you’ve worked hard to build and engage.

Here’s an example from my own Twitter timeline:

In October a bunch of people I know attended the Telstra Digital Summit in Sydney. Over the course of three days (the day before, day of, day after), one of my contacts (who as a ‘Digital Marketer, Strategist and Speaker’ should have known better) tweeted 148 times with the event hashtag.

148 times! About a one-day conference!

I ‘unfollowed’ this potential influencer early in the event. A few hours of my feed being clogged with his nonsensical posts was all I could bare.

To make my point, I today conducted a simple analysis of this one delegate’s event tweets, categorising them as either inane (meaning, they were meaningless) or intelligent (I extracted insight, despite not being present).

Two-thirds of this one delegate’s event tweets were inane (see below) and I can’t help but wonder how many other followers muted or banished him as a consequence.

In fairness, I admit to having been caught up in the moment while attending an event– participating in the banter and the fun; trying to make a connection with those around me.

What I’ve learned, and what I hope to instil in you, is that being temporarily turned-on at a conference can be a permanent turn-off for your audience.