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Beyond the EDGE: Twitter Enhances CPA Conference Experience

Last week, I attended the AICPA E.D.G.E. conference in Orlando, Fla., and was excited to see some conference attendees all-a-flutter over Twitter. In fact, several speakers and attendees were chatting and getting to know each other on Twitter before the conference even started.

When I arrived in the exhibit hall, the first person I met, one of the conference speakers, said, “Hey. I recognize you from Twitter. It’s so nice to meet you in person.”  Next, I met an exhibitor who said the same thing; he had immediately recognized me from my profile picture. Since I had already had interactions with both of them online, we had an immediate rapport when meeting offline. Strengthening online relationships by connecting in person is just one of many ways using Twitter can enhance a conference experience.

At conferences, Twitter also allows you to:

  • Let your Twitter followers know that you’re at the conference.
  • Follow the conference hashtag, connect with attendees and arrange offline conversations.
  • Update your Twitter followers in real-time about key talking points and takeaways from panel discussions or presentations.
  • Connect with speakers and thought leaders.
  • Ask attendees other questions by tagging your tweet with the conference hashtag

Use Twitter for research.

If you are researching a conference to attend for the first time, search for the hashtag from the previous year. You may find insights into the kind of sessions and speakers to expect.

What’s a hashtag?

A hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet that can be easily searched. The standard format for a hashtag is the # symbol followed by a word or term (e.g., #AICPA_EDGE). HeidiTweet

Can’t make it to a conference? No problem. Check out the hashtag.

You can follow all the action at a conference from home by following the conference hashtag. For example, Kasey Bayne wasn’t able to make it to the E.D.G.E. conference this year, but she was able to read updates and see key points from the conference’s speakers.

Want to see an example of what was happening at E.D.G.E.? Go to http://twitter.com/search-home and type in #AICPA_EDGE. Here you can see all of the tweets that were sent before, during and after the conference using the hashtag.

Interested in learning more about Twitter? Check out the AICPA’s Twitter User Guide.

, Strategist, Social Media and Member Engagement, American Institute of CPAs.

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