Event Twitter Feeds Provide Unexpected Insights

Isis, our host for the evening, walks the stage in front of the live Twitter feed.

Isis, our host for the evening, walks the stage in front of the live Twitter feed.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the UW-Milwaukee Drag Show. For years, this event has been sponsored by the UWM LGBT Resource Center to support Milwaukee’s Project Q. Students and professional performers mix on-stage to celebrate their ability to express themselves in an inclusive environment.

When I arrived at the event I was greeted by my former colleague who asked if I could help them project the live Twitter feed. Like any good student affairs professional (even a former one), I jumped in to help. While a little curious about how the feed would play out, I got the #UWMdrag2013 feed going just as the event got started.

I knew the feed would encourage people to tweet. I also knew it might include some vulgar language, which the staff were prepared for. What I did not expect to gain from the feed were insights into why students chose to attend UW-Milwaukee. This tweet immediately stood out to me:

I'm about to see #UWMdrag2013 AKA a bit reason I went to this school

The existence of an event that celebrates all types of inclusivity, including sexual orientation and gender expression, played a role in Zak’s college choice. This is very important information for the LGBT Resource Center to know when advocating for funds, and for recruiters to know what types of events matter to students.

Another tweet reinforced the pride associated with having this type of event on campus, but also highlighted a student that didn’t know about the event. Using this information, event organizers could reach out to Grace and try to find out other promotion strategies they could have used to make sure students like her knew about the event.

SO happy that my college is trending for a drag show! #uwmdrag2013. and so disappointed that I didn't know about it so I couldn't go ):

If you have access to a computer and a projection screen, the logistics of displaying a twitter feed are easy (We used TwitterFall based on Ed Cabellon‘s recommendation). Yes, there are risks associated with projecting unfiltered student speech for all to see. But, for most events, I feel the potential rewards (increased audience engagement, event publicity reach, and real-time feedback) outweigh the risks.

Have you live streamed an event on campus? Why or why not? Please share in the comments.

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2 Comments on “Event Twitter Feeds Provide Unexpected Insights

    • This was my first live experience with Twitterfall, and I loved it. You can pull multiple searches and @ replies into the same feed, instead of having separate columns like I’m used to in TweetDeck.

      Thanks for reading!

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