Responding to email and tweeting conferences – a beginner’s guide for the experienced user


Dealing with the digital world is not always easy, particularly for the beginner. In addition to the technology, which can be daunting, there are also issues associated with the etiquette of the various media. So, it was pleasing earlier today to receive news of two helpful blog posts dealing with two of the most ubiquitous forms of contemporary communication.

The first, from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, relates to responding to email and admonishes us to refrain from the instant, knee-jerk return email. Much better, it argues correctly, to think about the why, the what and the when to respond rather than to leap in feet-first and have to put things right later. One of my former colleagues was fond of quoting the old Mafia saying ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’. I think it applies equally well to email, especially if the email is one that gets you annoyed or flustered. Think first and then think again should be the order of the day

The second, from Hook & Eye, gives six basic rules for tweeting conferences. These are as follows.

1. ‘Every single tweet must contain named attribution’ for the idea(s) being tweeted. Don’t let the idea become disconnected from its originator.
2. ‘Try not to over-tweet’.
3. ‘Be aware of other tweeters’ and what they’re tweeting.
4. ‘Be respectful of the physical space you inhabit as you are tweeting online’ and remain part of the audience/discussion rather than becoming apart from it.
5. ‘Be aware of which panels are and aren’t being represented’.
6. ‘Be aware of the form of your tweet’.

Try thinking of situations where you’ve responded too quickly to an email and lived to regret it or where your Twitter feed has been overwhelmed by tweet after tweet after tweet on a single conference session and you’ll soon realise that these two blog postings provide very good advice, no matter whether you’re younger or older, highly experienced or very inexperienced. They offer that priceless commodity – worthwhile guidance.

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