Twitter Use at #STC11 Summit

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Twitter Use at #STC11 Summit

Category:Infosec Communicator,Social Networking,STC,Summit,Uncategorized Tags : 

Last year, I kicked off this blog by posting about Twitter Use at the #STC10 Summit in Dallas. I thought it would be interesting to look at Twitter use at #STC11 as well.


I’ve only analyzed results from May 13-21, 2011. However, use of the #STC11 hashtag occurred for months preceding this year’s Summit conference. (This is a departure from last year, when the use of tweets with the #STC10 hashtag started much later.) Because my Google RSS feed for #stc11 was unable to handle the volume of tweets this year, I relied on three sources for this post:

Graphical Portrayals of #STC11 Information

Wordle: #STC11 Summitb

Here’s a Wordle of the tweets containing the hashtag #stc11 from 5/13 through 5/21/11. If you’re unfamiliar with Wordle, it produces a wordcloud where the frequency of word usage determines the size of the words in the graphic.

Karen Mardahl*(@kmdk) began curating the #STC11 tweets in late April. The two graphics and lists below are taken from her archive.

#STC11 Tweets by User

#STC11 Tweets by User (from Karen Mardahl)

Top Twelve Twitter Handles (% Total Tweets)

  1. 9.55 % by torridence (Roger R.)
  2. 8.23% by techcom (Tony Chung)
  3. 7.88% by sushiblu (Jamie Gillenwater)
  4. 7.77% by bwoelk (Ben Woelk)
  5. 5.28% bytechcommdood (Bill Swallow)
  6. 4.89% by mojoguzzi (Joe Sokohl)
  7. 4.5% by rjhoughton (Rachel Houghton)
  8. 4.47% by stc_rochester (STC Rochester)
  9. 4.43% by RayGallon (Ray Gallon)
  10. 4.31% by willsansbury (Will Sansbury)
  11. 4.31% by afox98 (Alyssa Fox)
  12. 3.42% by ninjawritermama (Sarah Baca)

Selected Keywords (Occurrences)


Most Commonly Used Words (from Karen Mardahl)

  1. STCorg
  2. Techcomm
  3. STC11LD
  4. STC
  5. Summit
  6. &
  7. Session
  8. Content
  9. I’m
  10. Thanks


Again, contrary to some expectations, “beer” was not the most commonly used word in the tweets appearing only 13 times. (This was the same number of occurences as #stc10, but a much lower frequency.)

I’m not sure if there’s any correlation, but “karaoke” also appeared 14 times. The last two years have seen almost equal occurrences of beer and karaoke. Coincidence? I don’t think so!


Just like last year, Twitter provided a sense of community and a “conference within a conference.” Most tweets were positive, implying that many of the Twitter users enjoyed the conference.

I spent much of the conference meeting F2F with Tweeps gained from #stc10. If you’re not using Twitter at conference, I urge you to do so. You’ll find that it will create a new sense of comraderie with other Tweeters, and besides, that’s where all of the really cool STC people hang out!

I’ve curated the tweets into a 341-page MSWord document. This “raw” data is available upon request.

What are your thoughts and observations?


Postscript (5/28/11)

Vanessa Wilburn put together a more detailed analysis of the Twitter usage at #STC10. Her work focuses on the subject matter of the tweets. She found that after removing the “chitchat,” the twitter streams paralleled the key topics of the conference and that many of the tweets relayed content from or observations about specific sessions.


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Ben Woelk

May 28, 2011at 1:02 am

Hi Stan,
Take a look at Karen Mardahl’s Archive ( the breakdown for the next 13 Tweeters. I’m not sure how many “one-off” tweeters existed.

The actual twitter streams need more detailed analysis. (I tweeted as @bwoelk and @stc_rochester using HootSuite to administer the two streams.) I’ve added a postscript in this blog post linking to Vanessa Wilburn’s content analysis from #stc10. I believe you’ll find her analysis to be insightful.

I think you’ll find that Twitter was used in two ways at both conferences: conversations among the people producing the tweets and new and retweets of content from the sessions. Personal conversation would also occur in Direct Messages which will not appear in the curated tweets.

I don’t know if there’s a way to tell how many people were watching the #stc11 and #stc11LD hash tags. I suspect that the reach of the top 12 tweeters is pretty extensive. I’ll try to provide some more analysis in another post, but I think that the potential audience of the #stc11 and #stc11LD tweets is probably 400 or more listeners for each person tweeting.

Did we know each other? I followed 7 of the top twelve prior to the conference. Some of us had met F2F at last year’s Summit, but many of us had met only through various social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, the STC Ning site.) Around 50% of the top twelve were in the top twelve last year.

There were two purposes for Twitter at the conference: networking and content sharing.

Stan Stansbury

May 27, 2011at 10:05 pm

I don’t know what I expected, but what strikes me is how tight the tweeting circle is. 12 people wrote roughly 70% of the tweets from the conference. Sounds like a clique/SIG to me. Not that it matters, or is bad. Was the remaining 30% done by another 10 people at 3% apiece? Or was a there a continuous curve ending in a whole bunch of people who did just one? That would make a big difference to my view of tweeting. Do the top 12 tweeters all know each other? Or are they separately reporting back to different audiences? Again, that answer would really affect my view of the value of tweeting.

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May 24, 2011at 1:14 am

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May 23, 2011at 5:38 pm

I just had fun with Wordle. I fed it tweets only – no names of those tweeting. I removed 622 counts of STC11 and an unknown number of RT. Those two words dominated so much that everything else was illegible. Now you can read the words, at least.

BTW I’m pleased you found value in the Archivist material, Ben.

Paul Pehrson

May 23, 2011at 4:59 pm

I was both a tweeter and a presenter, and I don’t have any problem with people tweeting during my session. I actually had my iPad up with me on the podium during my presentation so I could watch for any tweets where I was mentioned, to see if people had questions or comments about the content I was presenting. (I didn’t have any in-session comments to respond to this year, but I also didn’t advertise that I was doing it. I wanted to see if it were possible before I invited everybody to join.)

I talked to one #STC11 attendee (who we’ll call Tom) who was disappointed that so many of the tweets were just tidbits of the presentation they were attending. Tom would have preferred to see discussion on the topic, rather than regurgitation of what was said.

I can see that from both sides. If you aren’t present at the session that is being discussed, then you need to the context of what was said to understand the conversation ABOUT what was said. There are two audiences: the audience who is actually at the event, and the audience who is not. These audiences have different needs/reasons for following the twitter conversation.


May 23, 2011at 4:29 pm

I wrote up my own blog post about this tweeting thing as seen from a distance:

Tweeting is here to stay, but how we can do it and use it in the best possible way?

I like the idea of a designated twitterer. I know that has been discussed in the past. I think @willsansbury and @mojoguzzi did an excellent job of this in @bnunnally’s session. Will was quite good in general, and I was very grateful for them.

Having a designated person for tweeting also means having a designated monitor of tweets. At least, that’s what I’ve been hearing. Someone can monitor the basics (is the sound poor in the back?) as well as questions. The speaker cannot do this – not well, at least. I’ve tried it in webinars, and it’s pretty tricky.

I think these designated people can really help move the conversation about the topic and in a constructive way.

I recall being in a discussion in 2010 about how to tweet – smartphone, tablet, laptop. I’d prefer tablet or laptop. I have been hit with connection difficulties at STC conferences. I come from Denmark so I have no 3G plan in the States. I am totally dependent on local wifi. I wonder how that figures into this equation. Were there people who would tweet, but who did not have a device or a connection at the desired tweeting time?

I’ve ended up taking notes on paper, and that means no tweets, but a potential for a blog post.


May 23, 2011at 2:59 pm

I don’t think people are going to accept the idea that they need permission from the presenter to tweet.

Speaking as a presenter, tweeting doesn’t bother me. It’s a vast improvement over either glazed-over faces or snoring (!). Yes, this has actually happened to me. Etiquette note: If you’re going to sleep, could you do it in the back rather than the front row?

Speaking as an attendee, I have to say that there’s usually plenty of time between salient points to condense them and tweet them without missing much. There are a few presenters who are the shining exception to that rule.

Char James-Tanny

May 23, 2011at 2:56 pm

I look at it this way: people have many options when it comes to deciding where to sit during that session block. They’ve chosen to sit in my session.

I don’t have a problem with people tweeting while I’m speaking, and I don’t find it rude. Actually, I don’t have a problem with people doing just about anything at that time, although I do frown on talking 😉 (It isn’t fair to those who came to hear me speak if they have to try to ignore other conversations.)

People have always multi-tasked in sessions, especially since smart phones arrived. (Heck, I gave a training session once in Chicago during which a woman planned her wedding ;-).) The difference now is that they seem to be more involved in the session than not because they’re tweeting or blogging about the session itself.

Beth Agnew

May 23, 2011at 2:45 pm

I don’t think it really affects the speaker when someone is tweeting during a presentation. This happens all the time in my classes! I generally ignore any device usage during a class or presentation. Sidebar convos are worse.

The immediacy of Twitter is what gives those who cannot be there for the live presentation the feel for the event. I wouldn’t read tweets at all if I were there live, even if tweeting myself.

My personal preference, however, is to be fully engaged with what the speaker is saying, take notes, process & synthesize the info in my own mind, then tweet my observations. Any lack of immediacy is made up for by more thoughtful responses.

Remotely, however, Twitter is a very useful tool. Thanks to the tweeters at the Teaching Professor Conference (#TPC11) I learned a lot, even though I couldn’t attend.

    Ben Woelk

    May 23, 2011at 3:00 pm

    I was a guest blogger for the EDUCAUSE #EDUSprint a couple of weeks ago. There was quite a bit of discussion about integrating mobile devices into classroom use, including use of QR codes in the PowerPoint. I’ve also talked with RIT faculty about how to integrate it.

    One aspect of the sprint was the integration of the twitter feed into the chat. We were able to pose questions from Twitter. That would be cool to integrate.

Michael Opsteegh

May 23, 2011at 2:42 pm

I think official or designated tweeters is a pretty good idea.

On one hand, as a presenter, I wondered if I had lost everyone’s attention. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the extra exposure from the outgoing tweets during my presentation.

While I wondered how engaged attendees could be if they were distracted by Twitter, they could have sidebars without disturbing the rest of the room or derailing the presentation, and they could field questions for people who were not fortunate enough to attend.

Tweeting during the presentations is a mixed blessing, but one that I am sure is not going away.

Christine Brouillard

May 23, 2011at 9:34 am

I’m still on the fence about whether tweeting during a presentation is good or bad. It’s great for the people who aren’t able to attend the session, but it seems distracting (bordering on rude) for the people who are actually there. I definitely wasn’t paying attention as closely if I was tweeting or reading tweets during a session.

    Ben Woelk

    May 23, 2011at 1:59 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I’ve been in sessions where a group of tweeters has faithfully tweeted session content. However, I’ve also been in sessions where people are having sidebars or are just viewing or reacting to the Twitter stream. I’ve fallen into both categories.

    I’m wondering whether it should be at the speaker’s discretion to allow or ban Twitter. Another option might be to have one or two “official” tweeters assigned to a session, much as you might have an ASL interpreter.


      Roger Renteria

      May 23, 2011at 2:43 pm

      That’s true to some extent. At some sessions, I took notes in MS Word and monitored my Twitter stream for anything relevant to #stc11.

      In addition, if there was a website link, I would look it up and add that to the #stc11 stream.

      Then again, some of us who had smartphones were on Twitter sent messages. What I noticed was that their phones were silenced for the most part.

      During Leadership Day, Rachel Houghton allowed me access to Tweet the progressions that I attended. When I introduced myself to the table, I mention that I was tweeting the event asked the group if that would be okay. I had the feeling that the progressions I attended they were okay with that idea.

      It depends, for some presentations, it was nice to see examples on my computer, such as website accessibility or detailed information that can’t really be read on the presentation screen.

      I love seeing tweets with great information at sessions that I couldn’t attend and I was able to ask questions or re-tweet in absence.



May 23, 2011at 7:51 am

Thanks Ben, for this analysis. The huge RT in the Wordle confirms what I’ve long suspected… the overwhelming majority of folks on Twitter simply retweet content from other folks instead of actively creating/adding their own content.

    Ben Woelk

    May 23, 2011at 8:15 am

    Karen’s archive has a graphic of new vs. Retweets. The percentage of retweets is lower than you might expect. There is a high percentage of new tweets.

Tony Chung

May 22, 2011at 10:57 pm

Ben: Seriously–RT and AMP; are top ranked words? LOL! I’m ok losing top posting to my boy Roger, but I’d like to see a filtered report that ignores the common words and articles. Thanks again for this report. it’s always a fun look back.

    Ben Woelk

    May 24, 2011at 12:31 am

    Hi Tony,
    RT is meaningful. I probably should have removed &. Those graphs were generated automatically in Karen’s archive. I’m not sure how much they can be fine-tuned.

    If you’d like the tweets from 5/13-21 in a Word doc, I can send them to you. I think Karen also has a .csv file of her tweets. Twitter is making it really difficult to archive tweets.

    I think there’s quite a bit of analysis that can be done through a careful handling of the data. (Maybe a group of us should be looking at it.)

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