I've been following the lead up to the big hometown Salesforce San Francisco Dreamforce event over the last few wweks with some interest. I've been subscribed to the Salesforce youtube channel since its inception, and amongst all the marketing cruft and promotional spots there are some valuable 'get prepared' for Dreamforce videos popping up.
The 3.5 minutes above may seem obvious to the seasoned social media twitcher but it's a good way to spell out how to use the various online tools Salesforce are supplying to make connections onsite and join the conversation. This is true for both Dreamforce and other conferences - tech or non tech - in order to maximize your experience and connections.
Cloud vendors have the advantage of green digital fields, whether online or mobile, and Salesforce have a terrific Chatter app for Dreamforce which works across the all media.
Chip Rodgers put up a solid post on the power of hashtags back in May on the SAP Community network - using public Twitter to follow a conference hashtag allows you to follow and participate in all the real time conversations whether you are on site or elsewhere. Hashtags makes event more pervasive because they create a contextual searchable history.
If you're still dubious about the power of Twitter read Shane Richmond's piece in the UK Daily Telegraph "Ignore the naysayers: Twitter is what you make it" ("There is seldom a shortage of people to tell you how banal or tedious Twitter is but, as any user will tell you, the social network is only as good as the people you follow...")
#Hashtags help you filter the avalanche of information available to you so you can find what you need in your timeframe and context rather than drinking from the fire hose and trying to triage and remember information.
Twitter - and now Chatter and other tools within companies as uptake accelerates - tends to attract 'noisy' people who over share, comment and opine, so learning to filter out some of the more aggressive new media hustlers is a good skill to learn, much like ignoring trolls in forums. This is particularly true now that it's not unusual for people to dominate hashtag information flow at multiple events they're not attending for self promotional and marketing reasons.
As we enter the fall conference season these tools can help you get the most out of events without becoming slaves to them - the golden rule being stay present and focused and don't say anything online you wouldn't say out loud in person. (Asking a question of yourself and then answering it is the Twitter trait l find most annoying i.e. 'What am I having for lunch? Why, a Ham sandwich with cheddar!)
Avoiding clogging up people's filters with trivia is the key to being taken seriously whether face to face or via digital conversations... and those lines are increasingly blurred as our options for connection and participation rapidly increase.