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:
3,968 tweets using #TRBAM Sun. Jan. 13-Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. In 2012, we had 2,830 during the same #TRBAM timeframe cc: @my1sttrb
— TRB (@TRBofNA) January 23, 2013
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).