Yesterday, we hosted Everyday Racism, Everyday Homophobia: A Symposium on the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Sexuality. We were honored to host scholars Jack Halberstam, Marlon Ross, and Kathryn Bond Stockton as well as Duke professors Sharon Holland and Mark Anthony Neal - and the discussion was fascinating. If you're interested in viewing the symposium, archived videos of the event are available at hastac.org/everyday/video.
With only a month under my belt as HASTAC Program Coordinator, I'm still learning a lot from my colleagues about how to leverage technology to include as many participants as possible at our events. One of the ways we make sure that those viewing remotely can engage in the dialogue of the event is through a Twitter hashtag - in this case, #everydayism. (View all tweets tagged #everydayism via Storify.)
After the event, several people gave us positive feedback about our decision to project the Twitter feed at the front of the room.
Here are the benefits of a live Twitter feed that we gleaned from this feedback:
It's a discussion aid.
The Twitter feed can augment discussion by giving a voice to people viewing remotely, and allowing people to participate in a dialogue even if they're too reserved to stand up and ask a question. It also allows people to reflect on how the conversation applies to their life and research, meaning that the discussion can expand in many directions very quickly and can allow people to connect with others with similar experiences and interests.
It's a discussion outline.
At times, the discussion veered into highly theoretical discourse. Tweets that summarized or highlighted key points helped everyone follow along, even if they hadn't read the books and essays that were being referred to.
It's a bibliography.
My colleague Fiona took the opportunity to occasionally link to a book authored or referred to by a speaker. This added a dimension to the talk - kind of a "learn more" link.
It's a placeholder.
During a 3-hour symposium, your mind is bound to wander, even if just to ponder how a discussion point applies to your own research project. Attendees told us that the Twitter feed allowed them to catch up and re-engage when they'd missed a thread of conversation.
I look forward to exploring more ways to integrate social media into our events, and again - I encourage you to check out our archived event videos at hastac.org/everyday/video. It was an amazing and productive discussion.