#STEMSaturdays: Live Tweet Your Own Talk at a Conference!


So you want to live-tweet your own talk at a conference… well good news, you can!


If you want to make sure your audience takes away key information from your talk (or your thesis defense, outreach initiatives, etc.), you can make sure that the facts are coming from your twitter feed as your mouth is relaying the information. How? Well, you won’t be pausing the talk every few seconds to say, “Hold on, let me just tweet that.” Instead, you will be scheduling your tweets ahead of time so they will “air” during the pre-selected time of your talk. 


To my knowledge, there are two main platforms that my peers use: HootSuite and Buffer. I personally use Buffer as it’s free (up to 10 tweets a day- then you have to pay) and it’s easy to learn (I should preface this by saying that I have not had experience with HootSuite).


With Buffer, you can synch a number of your social media outlets to it. This includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and now Instagram (it gives you reminders to post your photo, and does not post your photo for you); there may be a few other platforms I’m missing, but these are the ones I primarily use. 


Step 1. Choose the platform you want to post your talk from. I usually do an “update” on my Facebook and LinkedIn pages telling my audience that I will now be giving a talk on subject x and to refer to my twitter feed (insert twitter handle here) for more information. After my talk I’ll give a quick synopsis again of these two pages.


Step 2. Choose the time zone you are in. My time zone varies; for normal Twitter scheduling, I’ll choose US eastern-time as my zone; for specific conferences, I will choose the time zone I’m in. For example, for my Tasmania conference, I chose the Tasmania time zone and started the first tweet from my allotted talk time start. 


Step 3. You have 10 (free) tweets to work with. Make them count. I usually dedicate one tweet to introducing my topic via presentation title; the rest of my tweets are usually one tweet = one slide. On tweets that have no graphs, charts, etc. on them I will attach a picture of my research animal(s) because everyone likes pictures. Make sure to credit photographer or have copyright on photo.


Step 4. Once you have your 10 tweets, schedule them. If your talk starts at 2:00 pm and is scheduled to end at 2:15 pm, make it so you have one tweet about every minute. 


Step 4a. Time yourself to accurately schedule your tweets! Practice your presentation and see around what time each tweet should roughly go out. The last few minutes I leave blank for questions from the audience.


Step 5. Advertise your talk. Make sure your audience (on Twitter) knows that you will be live tweeting your presentation at  x time so they can be sure to tune in and learn all about your awesome research!


Step 6. Make sure everything is working! Day of the presentation, make sure your scheduling is all set up and that your self live-tweeting can go without a hitch! 


Step 7. Retweet those who have tagged you or your talk. Their perspectives can sometimes shed a new point of view on your dataset! 


And that’s that! Good luck setting up your own live-tweeting.


Author’s Note: This post has not been supported nor sponsored by Buffer or HootSuite. All opinions are my own and without endorsement.


About the Author:

Melissa C Marquez is a marine biologist and science communicator based in New Zealand. She is the founder of the Fins United Initiative.  You can find her twitter here, and support her on Patreon here