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13 July 2009 @ 07:09 am
Readercon: The Year Twitter Changed Everything  
As I've told you far too many times, I've attended every Readercon since since the first in 1987. So when I share that this Readercon was ... different ... you can believe me.

The important difference? Twitter.

Suddenly, there was a second Readercon occurring below the surface of the regular one. Dozens of people (I haven't done a census, but—50? 60?) issued thousands of tweets at the con, noting what was seen in the hallways and reporting on what was said on stage. But it was more than just journalistic; it was engaged. There was agreement, disagreement, even conversation among Twitterers.

At Readercons past, I always regretted not being able to split into multiple me's so that I could attend more than one panel at the same time. This year, I could, able to sit in one room and follow what was happening in the room next door. I was at both a meat and a virtual convention. This may not be the future we dreamed about, but it's certainly exciting in its own way.

I was late to Twitter, only starting early this year, and have so far attended three cons while using it—Balticon, HWA's Stoker Awards, and now Readercon. I believe that it has forever changed the way I'll attend conventions.

Last night, in a dinner held by the Readercon committee, I pulled out my iPhone and showed the organizers this underground con, which none of them was aware of. And now I'm going to share it with you.

Here are my 10 favorite tweets from Readercon. (Though I'll admit I haven't read every one of the many thousands, so if I missed your brilliant 140-character nugget, please forgive me!)

I even enjoyed the comments from those who couldn't make it to Readercon this year. There were many of those plaintive tweets, and even they changed the tenor of the con.

Here's my favorite:

I can't wait to see how this changes next month's Worldcon in Montreal!
karen_w_newtonkaren_w_newton on July 13th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
I wonder if Worldcon will be as Twitterific. Will most US attendees cell phones work in Canada? As of now, mine won't, but I am inquiring to see how much it would cost to set it up.
scottedelmanscottedelman on July 13th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
I have no plans to use any AT&T service while there. I will only be using wifi where available. The committee was workin to make sure it would be available in the convention center.
karen_w_newtonkaren_w_newton on July 13th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
that will work for folks with PDAs or netbooks. I usually rely on my smart phone for Twitter. I;m not carrying my netbook around.
A succulent breast dispensing good recommendationsyendi on July 13th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
In many ways, this is what's been happening at academic and tech conferences (and academic tech conferences, which is where I usually encounter it) for over a year. The academic nature of Readercon means that it, even more than many cons, seems like an obvious place for Twitter to have an impact.
Julie Andrewsjulieandrews on July 13th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Yay, you quoted me! :) That was my first experience of seeing people on Twitter who were in the same room as me. I was looking around trying to identify the first person when this happened, but I couldn't.

Next year, we need to harness the power of Twitter to do something cool and mindblowing at Readercon.

I think even more people would've been tweeting if the wifi had been free.
scottedelman: Astro Boyscottedelman on July 14th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
I was looking around trying to identify the first person when this happened, but I couldn't.

Which is one reason I use my real name, rather than a screen name. I like it to be immediately obvious who I am.
Sunpony/Pónaí Gréinesunpony on July 13th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
SO, my lack of Tweet capability on my phone doomed me to only see half the con? Drat!
Jeffjeffreyab on July 13th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
Which hashmark should we use for worldcon?

#worldcon or #anticpationSF?

Is AT&T ridiculous to use in Canada?

scottedelmanscottedelman on July 14th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I have no intention of using AT&T. i plan on having International Roaming set to OFF and only use wifi, which I hope will be in the convention center.

As for hashmarks, I have two issues:

1) I have trouble keeping my thoughts to 140 characters, let alone the 125 I'd have if I used #anticpationSF

2) All of my tweets transfer over to facebook. Is there any way to prevent the hashmarks from transferring, so as not to irk facebook users for a week?