Thursday, February 28, 2013

TRB Annual Meeting - Social Media and an App, done Right

The Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board is the first conference I attended that really created a buzz online.

Attendees shared technical information, thoughts and discussion from the sessions, used Twitter to get into a dialogue, and to create a community (connecting, sharing tips of where to eat, and how to get around).

The result: a mass of tweets:

I'll leave the analysis of why TRB managed to get this discussion going to the experts, but here are a few thoughts from my side:
  • In every mail, on every opening screen, the @TRBofNA handle and the #TRBAM hashtag showed up.
  • First time attendees were sent for help to the glorious @My1stTRB
  • With over 10000 attendees, there must be a decent number of people that are into using Twitter for professional purposes. Percentage-wise this group might be the same as in other conferences that I attended, but the net number will be larger, which gets the discussion going.
  • TRB is particularly welcoming to young members (up to 35 years). Being oriented towards younger people includes reaching out their means of communication too.
  • @TRBofNA consistently tweets high-quality content, and has a large following.

Besides the great use of social media (especially Twitter), TRB also provided an app for its attendees. In my opinion, every conference should take this step. Here's what I liked so much about the app:
  • you have your schedule in your pocket at all times
  • you can read the abstract of the presentation, without having to carry the conference proceedings along
  • you can quickly see where the room of the meeting or session will be
  • you can type notes into the app

The TRB app is developed by Conference Compass, which turns out to be a company from Delft (a nice surprise, that is).

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