The article I read was Is the Backchannel Enabled? Using Twitter at Academic Conferences by Bodong Chen. In this article she explains her study on the usage of twitter at ‘academic’ conferences. She starts out by explaining that Twitter is a social networking site that started in 2006 and is like a mini blog. She tells the reader what @reply, @username, hashtag, follow and direct message mean. Twitter is a place for individuals to discuss their thoughts in 140 characters or less. Using twitter at academic conferences is a new thing. Conferences before Twitter were very one sided there was no way to communicate questions or interact. And then there are unconferences where people use programs like twitter and don’t follow the usual format. This paper explores seven different conferences, of different genres, and how they use twitter. The author basically wants to know what the people at the conferences are talking about by following their hashtags. They look to answer the research questions: “What are the common user patterns of Twitter at academic conferences?, What are the dynamicsof different types of discourse on Twitter, i.e. retweet (RT) and @Reply?, What is the relationship between tweeting, being retweeted, and being responded? What are the different types of users?” the author selected her subjects based of convenience and that the conferences were different from each other.  The findings concluded that basically some people used twitter more than others and those people were at conferences that were media based.

I like that Twitter is becoming a big part of the professional world. Social networking is so much more than a way for college kids to waste time. The backchannel the author of the study was referring to is a really big part of connecting with each other. It allows the people in the conferences to interact with each other as speakers are up at the podium. So far it seems that only media based, or DH based conferences are using Twitter but I have a feeling more conferences will start to catch on as they realize the many benefits.

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