I enjoyed reading Dr. Vanessa P. Dennen’s article CONVERSATIONS ON THE HASHTAG: DOES CONFERENCE TWITTER USE PROMOTE PROFESSIONAL DISCOURSE? this week.

I typically attend one or two conferences a year and I generally get a lot out of them professionally. I am a very casual Twitter user but at conferences I generally open it up and try tweet and learn with it. Conferences now have the twitter hashtag plastered all over the place. However, my experience reflects what Dr. Dennen found in her analysis. Most of the tweets seem to be about people bragging that they are there, trying to get more followers, or are so cryptic that I feel left out.

I have a theory as to why this is (if you read this Dr. Dennen, I would love to hear your opinion). I think that the primary reason to use the Twitter hashtag is to experience belonging. You are connecting with others who are there and representing that to those that are not present. And f you understand those cryptic tweets, you really belong!

I think that this is a larger benefit than any sharing or gaining of information. If you are at a good conference you are two busy to contribute or read a lot of information. But you do have just enough time to signify your belonging.

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Vanessa

There is definitely a performative element to conference tweeting, and the act can unite attendees who might otherwise be physically co-present but not otherwise connected.