Earlier this year my manager
asked me to organise a high-profile event for up to 30 delegates in just 6 weeks! The
theme of the event was to be the impact of technology on teaching and learning.
I began by using a fairly conventional
method of event organisation. I’d chosen my date: 19th March, venue:
the British Library and title: 'Learning
3.0 symposium'. On 15th February 2010 I
sent an email invitation to a list of 36 people whom I know have an interest in
technology enhanced learning. As expected, this did not solicit my 30 delegates
(Only 8 of the original invitees actually attended the symposium).
I nearly decided to tell my manager that it
simply was not possible to make this event happen in the timescales I had been
given. Then I had an idea. All this talk about ‘harnessing technology’ made me
think: I should really practice what I preach! So I decided to try out a
Twitter experiment. I wrote a short article about an experiment to gather views
on how technology is changing the way we teach and learn via twitter. I posted
this on the Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)
website and on my own blog.
I then sent out a single tweet from my own twitter account and our LLUK
an exciting social media experiment. Please take part and use the hashtag #learning3
Interestingly, I did this without ‘official’
permission from my line manager, going by the mantra that ‘it’s easier to ask
forgiveness than permission’ and knowing that trying to describe what I wanted
to do would not have made sense to a non-Twitter user! I took a calculated
risk, figuring that the worst that could happen was that it just wouldn’t work.
So what happened? Well the tweets started
coming through. In order to keep track of things I used TwapperKeeper to archive tweets (you can still view all the #learning3 tweets on this site).
My tactic for getting delegates for my event was to get in touch with anyone
who tweeted using #learning3. I began to directly email those who had tweeted,
inviting them to the event. Using this method, within 2 weeks I had all 30
delegates booked in! Then I needed to find 4 speakers. This was easy too, once
I had the list of delegates I emailed 4 of them to ask if they would be willing
to give a talk. They all replied the next day to say ‘yes’! This was because
these were people who were already interested and engaged with the topic.
In the end there were a number of great
outcomes of this experiment. To date there have been 389 tweets using the
hashtag #learning3. 61 people tweeted using the hashtag, the majority of these
people had no previous connection with Lifelong Learning UK. Some
really useful blogs and articles were shared through Twitter as well.
Figure 1: A word cloud of all the tweets shared using
You might feel that you’d like to try
something similar in your workplace. Next time you’re arranging an event, try
thinking of other ways to connect with people other than the traditional method
of newsletters, email and phone calls. Using Twitter was fun and the results
were fantastic. The speed at which I could make new contacts and create a whole
network of interested and engaged people nearly overwhelmed me. For more
information about the Learning 3.0 symposium and the network, please visit http://grou.ps/learning3.
Lifelong Learning UK