Conference are music festivals for academics and they also cost like one. Attendance usually costs in the hundreds if you are not presenting with accommodation and travelling as added expenditure to attend a single conference. It all fine and dandy for you fully funded students out there who only need to submit an expense form. For those who need to fork out that sort of money on their student stipend, it is often a decision between rubbing shoulders with stuffy academics or a weekend vacation on the beach in the sun. I don’t know about you but the beach wins hands down unless I’m already sunburnt which is never :D.

Twitter conferences are an up and coming thing with organisations like the Royal Society of Chemistry, British Ornithologist’s Union and the likes; there are also twitter conferences that are privately hosted.

Basically, the whole conference is hosted online.

Like all conferences, there is a preceding call for abstracts and selection process. A schedule is then posted for each Twitter presentation. At each time slot, attendees go to each presenter’s twitter handle for their presentations. In some of these conferences, a live video is hosted while in others, a video of a presentation is put up. Questions are taken live on the twitter feed. In other cases, the whole conference is hosted on a single account and the account is shared across presenters who take over when it is their turn to speak.

In some twitter conferences, each presenter has a set number of tweets he or she can use during his or her slot. Instead of a video presentation, they share short statements and pictures/posters of their work.

Because it costs far cheaper to host a twitter conference attendance and presentation is typically free but this may change depending on the twitter conference organisers. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23twitterconference&src=typd&lang=en (here’s a Twitter search for #twitterconference).

Keep a look out of these conferences, it is a great way to share your research and network at the same time without burning through your student loans. The use of the discussion threads allow for organic discussions to develop even after the conference has already ended. Twitter conferences are also easily accessible regardless of time zones and geographical locations. Conference videos are posted online as well and thanks to the beauty of social media, you can still ask questions after the conference and chat privately with presenters and other attendees over Twitter!

Here are some twitter conferences that have been organised:







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© Dr Ken Yan Wong 2019

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