How many times have you gone to a conference and had mariachis greet you at the door as you filed in for the morning’s keynote speaker? The photo above is how we were welcomed on day one.
I snapped a photo of the performers and posted it to Twitter before the first keynote, Shawn Achor, even made it to the stage to begin his presentation.
No one will dispute the value of our professional networks. One of the main reasons people attend conferences is to meet other like-minded people and interact with them face-to-face. With the prevalence of social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the virtual contacts that we make are becoming more commonplace and more relevant.
Steven Stout, CAE (@stevenjs), HFTP’s Director of Meetings and Events, gave a brilliant presentation at the Leadership Summit about Twitter. I would campaign to have a video of his presentation on the HFTP web site as a resource to everyone. (Completely off topic, Steven used Prezi for his presentation. I stopped using PowerPoint earlier this year in favor of Prezi and love it. Check it out at www.prezi.com.)
Before every single presentation this week, the room hosts told us we could connect on Twitter using the hashtag #ACHFTP. I don’t use Twitter, but I dusted off the account I had created several years ago and decided to tweet throughout the convention.
I can’t tell you how invaluable it has been to be connected to Twitter throughout this convention. Have you ever gone to a conference that has breakout sessions and you are torn between two or even three sessions that you want to go to? Thanks to Twitter, I was able to “hear” what was going on in the other sessions and take away the high points and helpful bits of information from the tweets my fellow attendees were posting.
A few examples:
@slitchfield posted “#ACHFTP clubs that benchmark will learn what they should really focus on, not the free peanuts.”
@johngrigas posted: “I have a copy of the Story Musgrave powerpoint file, in case anyone wants a copy … #ACHFTP”
@funklm #ACHFTP “Is your property/club still doing a budget or have you switched to a rolling forecast? This is a question being discussed.”
Even with record attendance of 869, I saw less than a dozen attendees who tweeted on a regular basis throughout the convention. This is surprising to me, considering we are a technology organization. If someone told you there was a budgeting software that you could download for free that would greatly enhance your budgeting process, would you just dismiss it? Probably not. I would urge everyone to take advantage of this resource.
Twitter can be a powerful business tool that won’t eat up a lot of your valuable time.
The really great thing about all of this is that YOU can still access all of those tweets about the convention. Sign up for Twitter (it’s free!) and search for “#ACHFTP”. You’ll be able to read all the tweets that people posted about the convention.
Joe Young is the staff accountant at the Wexford Plantation Homeowners Association in Hilton Head, S.C. Follow him on Twitter @joejoeyoung
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