At the 1% Event on 17 september 2010, the twitterati sent tweets like: “Great energy #1pce” and “Good buzz @ #1pce”,’ Tiina Urm speaking #1pce, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5GryIDl0qY”.
Overall, Twitter is used to inform the followers on what is going on. The tool is great for short announcements, and for referring to Youtube movies and websites. Quick, in 140 characters (less if you leave space for re-tweeters), a message with an impression. Furthermore, thanks to the hashtag #, anyone can quickly see all the tweets about a specific subject.
For monitoring purposes Twitter is a tool to assess the mood at an event. Are people mentioning what is happening? Which activities are they mentioning most? How are they mentioning the activity?
What can Twitter add as an evaluation tool?
Tweets need to be collected immediately after an event with the Twitter Search function and saved elsewhere; leave it for a few days and the majority of tweets has already disappeared. The tweets can then be counted, individual twitterati counted, mood assessed, and comments counted and analysed. We noticed that only a few tweets had some form of content that was useful for evaluation purposes, beyond very general announcements. Out of the 900 tweets only 96 had some form of content/mood that was useful. Furthermore, all comments tend to be positive, in line with Twitter culture.
The questions that the twevaluators asked were seldom answered. Even personal replies with an additional question were not answered. Somehow, that does not go well with the medium. Consequently, the evaluation questions formulated for the day were not answered by Twitter.
What worked well was the screen in the conference main hall. Everyone could see the tweets, and the re-tweets by the tweetdeck. That added to the mood of “It is happening now!” and it added to the inclusion of all participants. During the day, we became aware that lots of participants never twittered, and did not have an account. One even twittered afterwards that he did not dare to use his old fashioned telephone in such a hip environment!
We may need more visuals for the ongoing outcome of the tweets real time, for example a time line with the best activities or a top 10 on the screens that evokes more evaluative tweets; this might encourage more participants’ involvement.
This first #Twevaluation experiment has generated new questions. We now know that twitter has possibilities: reading all tweets for energy, mood and positive feedback. Next time, the twevaluators would:
· Just use the general hashtag, the specific #twevaluation added nothing
· Not ask specific questions but just a few general ones, to be repeated during the day
· Add an “open computer” for participants who wish to Twitter but never did it before or did not bring their own computer/telephone
· Align the questions of other evaluation tools like the questionnaire with the Twitter questions (most inspiring, most useful, number of new contacts)
· Add a visual tool on the screen, to show aggregate data all day long (encouraging more participants to vote for the most useful part of the program, for example)
· Involve the bloggers more, to generate more tweets related to content
· Count the total outreach of all the twitterati by checking the number of followers
· Consider sending the twitterati or/and their followers a follow-up question, a few days after the event
Bob van der Winden