The AMA goes social

Last year at #amahighered there were about 6 twitterers. Amazing how far we’ve come in a year. – Tom Williams (@tom8williams), InnoGage

I just returned from my first trip to the American Marketing Association’s Symposium on Higher Education, but based on what I’d read and heard about the 2008 symposium, I’d have to agree with Tom’s assessment. Last year’s conference did not seem to embrace social media, especially attempts to live-stream or live-tweet sessions. (Karlyn Morissette addressed those issues in her 2008 conference wrap-up.)

This year, though, the AMA not only embraced the social web, but encouraged it. Symposium chair Elizabeth Scarborough (@elizscar on Twitter) promoted the #amahighered backchannel and encouraged participants to live-tweet their take on the sessions. So check out that channel for a load of good information from the conference. (Another popular hashtag during part of the conference was that for the #amatweetup, which was a blast.)

Also this year, the AMA provided free wireless access to facilitate tweeting and blogging, and even walked the talk themselves on the symposium website, incorporating a Twitter stream, video snapshots from conference participants, planners and presenters, and a discussion board.

All told, the AMA appears to have taken a big step toward more fully embracing the social media environment in the past year. Very well done.

P.S. – If following the Twitter stream is too confusing for you, check out the session notes Karlyn Morisette has posted throughout the conference at .eduGuru.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

10 thoughts on “The AMA goes social”

  1. Hi – glad you liked the social networking site supporting the Higher Ed conference. This is the second one done on the Sixent platform (disclosure: developed by my company) and builds on experience the AMA had creating a site for the Marketing Research conference ( It’s great to see social media tools really penetrating non-tech conferences. Hopefully there is much more to come! @sathompson

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. The #amahighered tag for this conference had an unbelievable about of good information ~ rivaling this year’s #heweb09 (minus the ‘tweckling’ the Chronicle felt the need to dig up). I was surprised at the amount of people new to higher ed that jumped right in and participated – adding great value to the presentations and post-conference discussions. Great to meet you Andy and I’m looking forward to future conferences and tweetups!

  3. Andy, I agree: we’ve come a long way from live-blogging the conference sessions. It’s great to hear what people pick up from the presentations–often their perceptions are different than mine. As I read the tweets about some of the sessions, I confess that I would probably have been a bit more snarky than the people who were tweeting as I read between the tweets. But there’s huge value in the conversation. It was great to see you again: thanks for making the trip.

  4. I’m not a frequent visitor to my Twitter account until this conference.
    For me it was a brilliant way to log in my thoughts in real time, and keeping them as notes I wanted to remember about the sessions…long after I am back at the office. When you add all of the other tweets into the mix, I’ve got an incredible resource of thoughts and ideas that I can refer to about each of the sessions…..and they are a collection of ideas from some of the best and most forward thinking minds at the conference.

  5. It was great to see AMA embrace social media this year and encourage it. It adds so much to the conference to be able to get other’s perspectives and keep the conversation going after the final session is over. Wonderful conference and thanks to all for great tweets.

  6. Thanks for sharing your observations, folks. After reading the Chronicle’s coverage of the #heweb09 “tweckling” that Mike P. references, and thinking about Michael S.’s comment regarding the lack of snark in the #amahighered Twitter stream, I started wondering about the two audiences tweeting at the two different conferences. Yes, there was some overlap among attendees, but I wonder if the AMA crowd, being marketers, are less inclined to be as snarky as the coders, web developers and web marketers at the HighEdWeb conference.

  7. I actually didn’t have a chance to go to the official online community during the conference, it was all I could do to keep up with the Twitter backchannel. Now I’ll go back and look as I digest everything.

    After hearing some horror stories like #heweb09 or the Web 2.0 Expo #w2e this week in New York (read about it ), it seems like there’s got to be a way to set a tone of civility and professionalism. I agree with Michael Stoner – I was tempted to tweet some snarky comments at times, but really, why? So people will see how witty and clever I am? More likely people will just think I’m a jerk. Showing live tweet streams behind presenters just seems like too much temptation to play the class clown.

    There were probably only 15-20 or so of us tweeting during the conference this year. I’m curious to know why each of us were doing it?

    I do it for these reasons: 1) to take and share notes, 2) to meet other people at the conference and start conversations, 3) to find out which other presentations were good that I missed, so I can go back and get the slides or notes, and 4) to share and build connections with people who weren’t able to make it to the conference. And if I’m honest there’s an ego aspect to being the first person out with some insight that gets retweeted. I find myself getting sucked into that, and I don’t like it, but there it is.

  8. I share many of David Poteet’s reasons of why I tweeted:

    1. An easy way of taking notes which I and those in my office could then dig up later for review.

    2. Meet new people (like David, M Petroff) or physically meet people (Karlyn, M Stoner, etc.) who’s thoughts I’ve followed (twitter and/or blogs) since I got into higher ed two years ago.

    3. I vicariously was able to attend multiple sessions at once or, at the very least, got tipped to sessions (like the video session which I didn’t go to) that people found good and which I’ll now seek out the slides/notes/etc.

    4. I got a kick in being an “outspoken” commenter of the sessions I found valuable (if I didn’t think they were great, I didn’t get snarky, I just didn’t say anything). I’m not naturally an extrovert so the veil of Twitter allowed me an easy way to be vocal.

    I’m not sure I’m an advocate of having the twitter stream on a screen behind a presenter. That strikes me as overkill. If you want to follow, then follow- it’s easy enough to do. Why split session attendees’ attentions with the backchannel (or, at the very least, let the presenter choose to show it or not)? Seems disrespectful to me to display the twitter stream when it should be up to the presenter to present how they wish.

  9. It’s interesting to read the reasons different people employ Twitter during a conference. For me it’s a combination of note-taking and building connections. Like Mike Rivera, I too have mixed feelings about showing the Twitter backchannel stream on a screen during a conference presentation. I agree, Mike, that that would likely further divide conference attendees’ attention during sessions, and could certainly distract the presenter. Having said that, however, I’ve never attended a session where the live streaming of tweets is posted. It might be interesting.

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