Didn’t get a chance to write any updates about the Pubcon, so it is a pity that my first update is going to be a complaint, but I guess since everyone is talking about the good stuff (of which there is plenty) and it is the complaints that get you to improve stuff so here it goes:
First day of Pubcon, there was almost the whole session track devoted to Twitter. The sessions rocked, the presentations rocked, it was realy great. You would think that the leading search marketing conference would plug in to Twitter and utilize it in ways that are a bit more creative than scrolling the tweets with the #pubcon hash on plasma screens in the expo area. The most significant failure in understanding twitter, IMHO, is failing to understand that my Twitter profile is my point of contact, part of my online identity, my way of plugging into what my friends and people that I follow are doing in real life. Instead of allowing me to integrate Pubcon into the fabric of my online presence, I am given only one option of participating, through the hashtag.
So what could have been done better? Here are three things from the top of my head that seemed obvious from the first day of the conference:
- My Twitter profile is a part of online identity – was it hard to ask people for a twitter username at the registration stage and print it out on the name tags? I do not talk to Ben Cook on Twitter, I talk to @skitzzo and the connection between the two should be made immediate through the name tag. Giving the ability to upload the avatar image and print that too would be ubercool.
- More session specific hashtags . The moderators were doing this out of their own initiative, but it would have been really helpful to have a specific hash tag for each session and to be able to follow the sessions like that. Tomorrow if I find a tweet saying that @sugarrae gave an awesome tip about redirecting affiliate links, it would be really helpful to know what session it was on, what the context was and maybe to find the presentation as well. This way I have to sift and search since there is no way of me knowing when it happened, was it an answer to a question from the crowd or part of the presentation, etc.
- Make sure all the panelists have their twitter username on each and every slide of their presentations. When I sit on the panel where Lyndsay Walker is rocking an awesome presentation on website architecture and SEO, how can I share that with my tweeps from England that are eagerly following every piece of info on Pubcon? What I needed to do is start searching on Google for the twitter username to be able to give proper credit. With the WiFi speed surging to as fast as 1Kb/s at certain points during the conference, I had to miss a whole lot of slides to be able to tweet about one. One exception that I’ve seen was Jill Sampey (who is awesome, regardless of the presentation) who had her username on each and every one of the slides. The majority of the presentations are using the default Pubcon background, it shouldn’t have been too hard to insert a space for a twitter handle of the speaker.
So as I said, the intention of this post was to help improve things for the next conference. I am having a great time so far and while some of the panels speakers do leave a lot to desire in terms of the novelty of the info they deliver, there are some really awesome panels and the networking is as good as it gets. So Pubcon, keep rocking and help us be active Pubcon participants on Twitter too.