Everyone knew there would be a lot of online activity during the 2009 Annual Conference, but I think even we were surprised at just how much people came together on social media sites around the event and the sessions. Clearly there’s going to be parallel event online for all future ALA conferences, one driven completely by people and not by planners.
So here’s a benchmark for future measurements, because for the first time, we’ll have an archive we can refer back to, at least for Twitter, which was the most heavily used site during the conference. Here’s a summary I wrote for Keith Michael Fiels, ALA’s Executive Director.
- Flickr: 4,011 pictures
- A Google Blogsearch says there are about 14,000 posts using the tag ala2009, but that’s not really right because it includes the Flickr pictures, comments on blogs, etc. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get an exact count. If I had to guess, I’d say that most of the posts are recaps of someone’s conference experience, followed closely by summaries of sessions, and links to presentation materials (in that order). Some samples:
- Twitter: 10,362 tweets using the #ala2009 tag by 1,321 authors (including the ALA Annual account and other ALA units)
- tweets before: 765
- tweets thu: 680
- tweets fri: 1380
- tweets sat: 2390
- tweets sun: 2250
- tweets mon: 1725
- tweets tue: 589
- tweets after: 583 (7/15-24/2009, although tweets continue to appear so this number will still increase a little)
- by tag:
- #ala2009 – 8517 (this was the main hashtag that we asked people to use)
- #ala09 – 415
- #alacouncil – 82
- #membership – 39
- #totebag – 265 (an unofficial snark channel)
- #unala2009 – 450 (the unconference)
- #acrl101 – 22
- #ala09_is – 8 (ACRL Instruction Section)
- #ala2prom – 26 (Library 2.0 session)
- #lib2.0 – 118 (Library 2.0 session)
- #ttt2009 – 35 (LITA’s Top Tech Trends)
- #toptech – 43 (LITA’s Top Tech Trends)
- #bigwig2009 – 13
- #clene09 – 10
- #clenets09 – 6
- #godort09 – 3
- #mobile_lib – 50 (WO panel)
- #rusaht – 6 (RUSA Hot Topics session)
- The reason I can give you such specific stats about the tweets is that ALA member Heather Devine offered to create an online Flickr/Twitter tracker for the conference a couple of weeks before the event. She finished it just a couple of days before Annual started, having done most of the work while she was on vacation. You can see it still running, and she’s going to give us the code and database so that we can 1) archive it, and 2) implement this for other conferences in the future. I can’t begin to describe how lucky we are that Heather did this, because there’s no good way to archive tweets right now, and we don’t have the resources to create this ourselves. The site got a lot of notice and a lot of hits during Annual, with Roy Tennant in particular noting it. I’d like to request that ALA to send Heather a letter of thanks if possible for this herculean and incredibly valuable effort.
- LJ very smartly did a daily recap of what they considered to be the “best” tweets of the day. Reading through them gives an excellent overview of the conference.
- Eric Hellman did an analysis of the ala2009 hashtag
- Then there was the interesting, but relatively harmless, appearance of the anonymous alasecrets and alasecrets2009 accounts on Twitter. While they were discussed, retweeted, and linked to online, those tweets didn’t spill over very much into the mainstream hashtag, and in fact, it allowed the really nasty stuff to stay out of the ala2009 space, which was good for us. One media blog picked up on it and noted it in a post, but that was about it. Someone shut down the original alasecrets account when it devolved into sex talk, but others had saved the tweets and posted them on Scribd, and the alasecrets2009 account took over where the first one left off. LJ did an interview with the anonymous originator of both accounts.
- According to Boopsie, more than 1500 people downloaded their ALA2009 application. I’m unclear if this figure includes people like me who accessed it on the web. It garnered a lot of praise online, with a couple of people tweeting that it helped them find a session when they didn’t know where it was.
- There are also a ton of great videos on YouTube from the conference, including several of the book cart drill teams and a wonderful fake fight between Neil Gaiman and James Kennedy for the Newbery Award.
- The staff of American Libraries did their usual, wonderful job covering the conference. See their blog posts on Inside Scoop, videos on AL Focus, and the Post-Conference issue of AL Direct for a full overview of everything that happened at #ala2009.
I know my conference experience was better because of these online components. What was your experience?