Hashtags: The Backbone Of The Modern Conference (For Better Or Worse)

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
Image via Wikipedia

Have you wondered where all the action lurks at legal conferences (or any conferences) these days? Check out this thorough description of the “hashtag” experience at the recent American Association of Law Library conference, July 24 – 29, 2009. If you are unclear on the hashtag concept, it is another long-standing Twitter convention hearkening back to the days when search was nearly non-existent. Marking a universally-accepted term with a hashtag at the front permitted the tweets containing the mark to be collected. See this earlier Studio post for more detail.

Roger Skalbeck and Meg Kribble provide an extraordinarily detailed account of how Twitter and hashtags were used to broad effect at the recent conference in their LLRX article here. The authors created tweet clouds from the tags to visualize the importance (or recurrence) of various topics. They discussed the fall out of anonymous attendees posting to a special account created just for the conference. Hashtag humor and conversation hijacking and blatant business promotion arose in the tagged tweets and accounts.

I am not sure the authors of the article are aware of all of the lessons that the AALL hashtag experience may offer for future legal conferences, from both the organizers’ and the attendees’ points of view. Can too much communication be a positive or negative? Hit the jump and read the account to reach your own conclusions.

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