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Media Morph: Conference Coverage Via Twitter

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Whether you're attending an event or want to follow one from afar, one of the most useful tools is Twitter, the 140-characters-or-fewer messaging service. Here's some advice from the pros on how to participate -- or simply tag along. (First step: Get a Twitter account.)

CREATE OR FIND THE HASHTAG: A hashtag is the little code preceded by a "#" that people use to indicate the topic about which they're Twittering. The idea is to ensure that tweets on the same topic can be found and aggregated more easily. Simply search for a particular hashtag on search.twitter.com or TweetDeck and you'll unearth the Twitter conversation related to it, making it easy to follow along if you're not at the show. If you are at the show and creating a hashtag, keep it simple.

DISCOVER FELLOW TWITTERERS: If you're at an event, you can search on the hashtag to figure out who else is Twittering. A good way to connect with them is to respond to something they said or to add comments referencing their tweets, said Alisa Hansen, an iCrossing social-media strategist (@alisamleo on Twitter).

COLOR YOUR COMMENTARY: This one comes from David Armano, a power Twitterer himself (@armano on Twitter), who has written a stellar post on tips for twittering conferences. "Throw out your POV for what it's worth," he wrote. "Spice up things by adding additional thoughts to what you just heard. For lessons ... think of the great sportscasters."

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Some of your followers might not want an update every five minutes of a daylong conference. Ms. Hansen said she typically tweets a message ahead of time, warning followers that she'll be tweeting a show. "I say, 'I'm going to start Twittering, and I apologize because there's going to be lots of volume. So if you want to un-follow me for the day, I will be done on the 6th.'"
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