Social Media Column: Always in touch with social media

Published in the June 12, 2012 issue of The Edmonton Sun.

Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.

Always in touch with social media

I love participating on social networks for a number of reasons, including one that became very apparent this past week.

I got sick and it resulted in me being a very quiet and anti-social human being, except when it came to my social media self.

I was still tweeting away, updating my Facebook status, and interacting with others online, despite a huge headache and a strained voice.

I had to cancel on a few real-life functions but I didn’t need to “cancel” on social media.

I was very excited to attend Edmonton’s Pecha Kucha Night last Wednesday, but because of my illness stayed home.

From the comfort of my living room, with the help of the Twitter hashtag #PKN13 and an online live stream, I was able to follow along on all the presentations and conversations happening at Pecha Kucha – where speakers share ideas and projects on various topics using a 20-slideshow by 20-second format.

Through tweets from those in attendance, I was able to hear what every presenter had to say.

It’s a pretty typical online action these days – many event organizers will encourage those in the audience to tweet and those who can’t be there, whether it’s because they’re sick or double-booked or maybe it’s just too expensive, can simply follow along online.

Pecha Kucha organizer Ryan Stark tells me allowing Edmontonians to connect in that way increases the “reach” and raises more awareness of an event. But Stark says it’s not as thorough an experience.

Local social media analyst Karl Kovacs agrees. He tells me you can’t really get a feel for the “pulse” of an event if you attend it virtually.

“What you take away from a virtual conference is a thin slice of the experiences you take away from a face-to-face conference,” Kovacs says.

True enough. The information I got through tweets were just fragments of the night – partial thoughts that people were able to remember and tweet quickly enough before the next thought came.

I also missed out on food trucks, a live DJ, and meeting new friends. Apparently there were also antics of a rogue squirrel, terrorizing the feet of those in the audience.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll try to be physically present at as many events as I can, but it’s nice to know when I can’t make it out, I won’t miss out.

Although you may not get the full experience by following along online, thanks to Twitter I’ve been able to “attend” many events, all while seated in front of the computer.

Some tweets of the week:

@adampatterson: Can someone send me the updated driver laws. The one saying that all stop lines have moved 9 feet forward and are now optional. #yeg

@NicoleCotterill: There’s nothing like a trip to @CityMarket10 for fresh veggies & fruit. Check out Bloom Cookies. They are #vegan & delicious! #yeg

@lizlopresti: Loving the energy downtown #yeg today! #TEDxEdmonton, Pride, and some beauty weather are putting a big smile on my face!

@houseofdenham: Take note,@duchessbakeshop makes the best unsweetened iced tea in #yeg and I’ve discovered my favourite new treat, pear cream cheese danish.

Click here to read the column on the Edmonton Sun website!

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