Live reporting… or maybe not

We’re on week 4 of the CJBS Social Media Driving Licence and this week we’ve been tested to the limit with a Tweet-a-thon. For most of us, this was our very first live-tweeting experience and reactions came in a wide variety of tones.

The tweet-a-thon left me with mixed feelings about the whole idea of live-tweeting. Yes, it was my first time and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I felt overwhelmed trying to do hundred things at once: listening, processing the information, writing an interesting tweet,  don’t forget to include the relevant hashtag and Twitter handles, follow other tweets and reply to those that needed your attention, keep listening and if possible, take pictures to add to your tweets. All of this amid the frenetic tapping of 20 colleagues… I’m exhausted just by thinking about it! Live-tweeting goes beyond the simple concept of ‘multitasking’.

But leaving aside the brain-draining first experience, I’m still unsure about the benefits of live-tweeting, other than for personal reasons. I’ve tried following live-tweets before, and even when I trusted the people tweeting and the quality of their tweets, I couldn’t really understand what was happening.   Live-tweeting to me is like when you look at a presentation that only has images, but unless you were there to listen to the presenter, the images on their own don’t make any sense at all.  I also realised that live-tweeting is a massive distraction and that you end up missing part of the session.

Having said this, I believe that live-tweeting can be useful as a note-taking practice, a place where you can reflect on the event and keep your thoughts in one place. And that your tweets might lead to conversations and connect with other people.  It can also be useful to promote your institution and showcase your events.

Will I live-tweet again? I’m glad I’ve done it as part of the CJBS SMDL. I’m not sure I’ll try again anytime soon, at least on a personal level. But I had exactly the same reaction when I first tried Twitter a few years ago; chances are that I may change my mind about live-tweeting in the future…

Image credit: Laurie Pink via Flickr Creative Commons

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About cluna2014

Library Assistant at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

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