here on Scribd.com), reveals some interesting, although not altogether shocking, insights into the role the microblogging service plays during major events. Most notable of their findings is the number of individuals who actively use the service during conferences - a figure showing high participation levels among attendees.A group of scholars from Germany, Austria, and the U.K. recently put together a case study about the tweeting habits of conference attendees. Entitled "How People are using Twitter during Conferences," this research report (available
According to the report, the researchers were motivated to find out if using Twitter could actually help improve the interactions among the learners and enhance their learning experience when attending presentations in large groups. They looked into the motives of Twitter users, contents of tweets, and how this impacted the user's network.
The researchers found that the majority of conference attendees already had a Twitter account (95.1%) and many of those who did actively used it to tweet during the conference (67.5%). 74.1% of the attendees send between 11 and 20 messages per day and 51.2% discussed topics via @ replies and DMs.
As to what the conference goers shared, it was discovered that nearly half the tweets were simple plain text messages while tweets with links to web sites only accounted for 10% of the messages. In other words, the Twitterers were using the medium to share the information they were learning at the present moment as opposed to posting links to information already available on the web.
The participants were also asked open-ended questions like "Why do you think Twitter encouraged the discussion about topics?" and what the added value of Twitter at conferences was. In response, the survey participants answered that Twitter gave conference goers a greater sense of community and encouraged discussion in the backchannel, often allowing them to discuss things in more detail than the "guys on the stage." Other participants noted that Twitter helps you connect with people who have similar interests, provides networking potential, and allows those who could not attend to gain value from your experience.
Unfortunately, the data collected comes from only five conferences and forty-one different attendees, so the sample size isn't what we would consider to be large enough to draw any definite conclusions. However, based on these initial findings, it does seem to show that a good majority of conference goers today use Twitter to share information and interact with their network when attending these sorts of events.