Category Archives: Twitter

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

As well as being an RSS junkie I confess that I am also a member of the the ‘twitterazi’. Deprived of my regular Twitter fixes I suffer severe withdrawal symptoms. What is infobunny up to? Did Jillbrad manage to print her spreadsheet? Did Tebbo meet up with anyone at T5?

Persuading people that RSS is a good thing is not that difficult, but proving the value of Twitter is hard work.  Chris Brogan’s blog posting  on 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business is a great starting point for ideas on how you can seriously use Twitter. He also lists ‘The Negatives People Will Throw at You’ and ‘Some Positives to Throw Back’.  My personal favourite in the list is number 11: Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”

INFORUM starts in Prague today

The 14th annual INFORUM conference starts today in Prague at 10.30 Prague time. INFORUM covers professional electronic information resources for research, development, education and business purposes. If you are not able to attend the event in person live video broadcasting of the sessions being run in the New Auditorium will be available at The programme of the event is at

I shall be twittering some of the sessions (Twitter name karenblakeman) and I am sure there will be others. Unfortunately, because Twitter is “stressing out a bit” at the moment you can only view one page of tweets. The ‘Older’ option has been temporarily suspended, which is very annoying if you are trying to follow conference tweets. My own tweets are recorded daily by LoudTwitter at

Gordon Brown is Twittering

Actually,  it is number 10 Downing Street rather than Gordon who is twittering, mainly via Twitterfeed

Dig around and you can find several mainstream information providers who are twittering,  although they are usually just sending their RSS feeds to Twitter via Twitterfeed rather than being actively involved in the community.  Run a Twitter search on the BBC, Timesonline  and the FT.

The INSOURCE Conference Twitter Experiment

As mentioned earlier in my blog I was at INSOURCE 2008, 5th-6th February and twittering it. I would not normally Twitter a conference; my usual approach is to record nuggets of information and interesting sites in a Word document on my laptop. On this occasion, though, two colleagues who were not able to attend asked if I would Twitter it so that they could ‘follow’ me and get a flavour of the event. Right from the start I made it clear to them that I was not going to tap in every piece of information from the slide presentations. Most of the presentations are now available on the INSOURCE web site as PowerPoints and some as Word documents. Instead I concentrated on noting down snippets and web sites that I especially wanted to remember and significant comments from the speakers that were not on the slides.

For such an experiment to work one must have a laptop with a reasonably long battery ‘life’ – or easy access to a power socked for recharging during the breaks – and a reliable wi-fi connection. Those criteria were met at this conference (and the wi-fi was free!) but there was one unforeseen problem. The languages of the conference were Czech and English, which meant that I had to use head phones to listen to the simultaneous translations for the Czech papers. Unfortunately the reception on the head sets was frequently disrupted by static apparently caused by nearby laptops, wi-fi connections, mobile phones etc. Luckily, Marydee Ojala was attending the conference and was not as badly affected by the static as me, so she was often able to twitter on when I could not.

Aside from the technical disruption, how did we fare? Both Marydee and I are relatively new to twittering so much of the time early on was spent discovering how the whole thing works. For us the main issues were:

1. The 140 character limit on tweets (entries, postings, updates – whatever). At first this seemed to be a serious limitation but it does concentrate the mind wonderfully and you learn to note just the essentials. In comparison, my previous Word records of conferences appear verbose and full of waffle.

2. The ‘timelines’ or pages are public so one must be careful not to make libellous comments or offend people. It is possible to ‘lock’ your updates/tweets so that only selected followers can see them. If you prefer, you can send private messages to one another – a bit like passing notes in class (now that dates me!).

3. Not all of Marydee’s tweets appeared in my timeline and vice versa. This really did become very annoying as we had to periodically look at each other’s page to check what the other person had said. I have since discovered that this is a known bug and that Twitter is working on it. See The Case of the Missing Updates and Weekend Update on the Twitter Blog.

4. Both Marydee and I are concerned as to how long the tweets remain on the site. You can view the most recent 200 tweets on a page or in your own timeline but there is no mention of any expiration date. 200 may seem a lot but if there are several of you following each other at a conference, you quickly exceed that limit and have to resort to looking at individual pages for the older tweets. For me, that defeats the object of following conferences on Twitter. It is far more interesting and useful to see tweets on the same presentation from different people intermingled. The 200 limit also means that if you want to keep them as a permanent record for even just a few weeks you have to copy the tweets to a locally held document. There is no export facility.

Marydee and I twittered the INSOURCE conference together by ‘following’ each other. Apart from the technical glitches this worked reasonably well. However, if more people were involved it would be far too cumbersome to identify all the twitterers at a conference and follow them. But Twitter have thought of that – see Using Twitter for Your Event. That will be our next Twitter experiment 🙂

You can see Marydee’s INSOURCE twitterings at and mine at

Update on the conference twittering experiment

Twittering (or is it tweeting) the INSOURCE conference in Prague generally went well. It helped me concentrate on the presentations more, and I really got into the swing of it once I had become accustomed to the 140 character limitation on each tweet. The only problem I had was with some of the Czech presentations. The headphones for the English translations were subject to static from nearby laptops and the wi-fi connections. At one point my headphones gave up altogether. Marydee Ojala, who is also here and twittering, took over from me and then joined in full time. So there are two threads of the conference on my own (karenblakeman) and Marydee’s (marydeeo).

Twittering is about to re-start at 8.30 Czech time, 7.30 UK time.

Twittering at INSOURCE 2008

I shall be in Prague this week twittering from INSOURCE 2008. This is a new conference entitled ‘Conference on Professional Information Resources for business, Marketing, Management, Research. Several of my colleagues have asked for feedback on the event but rather than do a formal report I shall attempt to twitter it. The problem with events such as these is that I start off with the best intentions to attend as many presentations as possible but end up instead chatting to various people.

Details of the event are on and the papers will, I understand, appear on the web site.