The #iSkillsSM workshop

In mid-February, I taught a workshop at the University of Toronto’s iSchool on social media. It was specifically about social media for conference networking, a bit of a dry topic, but a useful one to think about.

When I was starting to sketch out the course, I read a lot of listicles about conference networking. They were mostly boring and terrible, and said things like, “decide what you want your personal brand to be” and “turn connections into a network.”

 Thrilling.

I wanted to focus on the different ways to interact with presenters and audiences, and on the broader opportunities that conferences bring up. Most of these things seem really obvious (share links that are pertinent to the talk! The best networking happens at informal social events!) but a) they actually weren’t obvious to me at all when I was starting out and b) reinforcement is an important part of learning, somebody, somewhere told me once.

Rather than take notes, I asked attendees to tweet what resonated, or their own observations. We had a hashtag (#iSkillsSM), and the plan was for me to gather all of their thoughts and Storify it for everyone.

Based on the workshop’s blurb, I anticipated participants would be familiar with Twitter, but new to conferencing (while there were a lot of possible tools to discuss, I focused on Twitter for most of the hour). My actual participants was almost exclusively new to Twitter, which made the dynamic a bit different—the “live tweet your own thoughts!” piece of the day didn’t really work—but it also lent a playful enthusiasm and a sense of discovery to the discussion that I had not anticipated.

In endeavouring to model the practices discussed, I’ve Storified the class, though it’s a bit thin. And these are my slides, slightly amended for internet sharing:

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