There’s some good analysis of the Twitter hashtag usage from the recent ALA conference posted by Eric Hellman on his Go to Hellman blog.
According to his numbers, there were more than 1,500 tweets using ALA-related hashtags from the more than 28,000 conference attendees. That works out to about one tweet for every 19 visitors, though it’s abundantly clear that a (very) vocal Twitter minority is responsible for the lion’s share of the posts.
Certainly, this is yet more evidence of the upward trend of Twitter usage among librarians, but with the increased usage comes a significant hit to the ratio of signal to noise.
When does a conference Twitter feed no longer prove useful to anyone actually trying to follow it? At what point are all the small insights lost among the torrent of tweets quoting program speakers and the retweets of those tweets ad nauseam?
As Hellman points out, the larger sessions often have their own splinter hashtags, which helps a great deal for those events. But with all the play-by-play tweeting, the aggregate feeds can become pretty unwieldy real fast. I’m not sure there’s much to be done about this other than to keep your eye peeled for the real gems, like #totebag turned out to be.
Click here for more ALA 2009 Conference News coverage from Library Journal and School Library Journal.