Like many other educational conferences, there is a very active backchannel. Twitter has had a useful role in enabling people to connect and share thoughts, observations and reflections. This is achieved with the help of hashtags, a mechanism for self-organisation and categorisation of content.
a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic.hashtag/ˈhaʃtag/noun
Historically, the ALT Conference, like many other events, has suggested the use of a year stamp in the hashtag. This has proved useful when reviewing usage as Matt Lingard did for #altc2007 – #altc2012 in Social Media at ALT-Cs producing the graph below:
A downside of this is the hashtags have little life after the event, psychologically the event is over, the hashtag is over. Below is a graph looking at tweet frequency for the #altc2013 tag. As you can see, after the conference the hashtag hits the abyss.
We should not forget that while the tag quickly loses favour, new connections have been made through individuals directly following new people and interests. As a membership organisation established to support the community, we feel it is important to try and extend the conversation and the opportunity for people to make connections. To do this, we are proposing the hashtag for this year’s ALT Conference is #altc:
With the #altc tag, we hope ALT members will be able to continue the discussion beyond the conference, to share resources and experiences up until ALT-C 2015 and beyond.
Whether you choose to use the #altc tag is of course entirely up to you, but hopefully you can see the benefit in this approach and you can join the conversation.
Chief Innovation, Community and Technology Officer, ALT