Let me tell you about the day I watched Jack Dorsey read my Tweet.
Last Friday NYU held an amazing conference -- The 2nd Annual NYU Entrepreneurship Festival. The event, which was originally supposed to be held in the Fall, but was cancelled as Hurricane Sandy hit, finally happened last week. It was fantastic. The school secured speakers like Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey, OMGPop CEO Dan Porter (who was both amazing and hysterical), and many more successful entrepreneurs in the Tech space. What was so amazing was that almost all of them had some tie to NYU (my alma mater!). As co-founder of a startup based in the NY Area, I found it a very inspiring event.
Dorsey was there on Friday afternoon. He was being interviewed by angel investor Fred Wilson of AVC. The interview was terrific, and it was fascinating to see how measured Dorsey's remarks were (now I understand why we only get 140 characters!). There are times when I feel like some of the more successful tech startups have really been just wildly successful larks, but hearing from Dorsey how the social media site came about, you quickly realize how the interests and fascinations he explored throughout his entire life led him down the track to this enormous success.
Anyway, at one point, Dorsey started to speak about Justin Bieber. You could feel the palpable surprise in the room (this was an auditorium packed with "uber cool" college kids). Personally, I was thrilled. My 13-year-old daughter was in the audience with me -- and she was very excited at the chance to be in the same room as a founder of Twitter, I had even Tweeted out earlier that day that Jack Dorsey is the Justin Bieber of Tech! (yeah -- me and Jack -- we've got a psychic link thing going on).
As Dorsey spoke about Bieber's ability to tap into the collective conscious of so many I tapped into my Twitter conference skills. I admit, it was a lucky break, after all -- I'm the suburban mom of a teenager -- so I actually was at one of the Justin Bieber concerts in NYC last year -- and the concert pictures were still on my phone. But a fast Google search would have sufficed had I not kept them there.
This is the Tweet that I immediately sent out:
The conference was streaming Tweets with the #NYUEF hashtag on the screen above Jack Dorsey and Fred Wilson, and as soon as my Tweet with the Bieber picture hit the feed the audience let out a collective chuckle. It was enough to make Jack and Fred turn around to see what we were all so entertained by.
I have to admit, it took every ounce of willpower for me not to stand up and yell out "Booyah people! That's how its done!" Lol.
But my point is this -- Twitter is about engagement.
It still amazes me when conference goers spend the entire day Tweeting out what I refer to as "robot Tweets" -- just quotes of what speakers are saying. This may have worked well when Twitter was in its infancy, but most conferences these days have an officially Tweeter and are doing the same thing. So, Tweeting out what other people, or the official account are Tweeting, isn't really going to engage anyone. If you want to be Re-Tweeted, or interact with your fellow conference goers who are following the feed, there are some really easy steps for you to follow.
- When you are listening to a speaker, anything that you would turn and whisper to your best friend is something you should Tweet. If a presenter is making an interesting point -- react to it, don't just quote it.
- Read the official hashtag feed of the conference and react to the original Tweets other people are sending out. Quote their Tweet and say something to them. Give them credit and engage.
- Flex your funny muscle. But remember that there is a fine line between funny and obnoxious.
Twitter is an amazing tool. It lets you become part of the conversation. You may not have been asked to be a speaker, but you are at a conference because you are part of that community of interest. And you have lots to offer. And Twitter is one of the best ways to be heard, to network, and most importantly, to engage!