Category Archives: Events

The Twit-xperiment: OUCC

Some OUCC tweets
A sample of the OUCC Tweets

I’ve already shamefully admitted that I’m late to the Twitter game, and like grade school, I’m the last to be picked for a team.

This week presented me with an opportunity to experiment with a task that other Twits have been doing for a while now – Tweeting an event.

I had already found some good examples — I recently went to a music festival, and searched Twitter after the fact for Tweets from the attendees. What I found was a collection of Tweets that journalled the entire event. People posted before the event, letting others know they’d be there, and trying to arrange a meet-up. People posted when they got there, about Montreal, about the places they stayed and the things they ate. Of course, people posted from the event – about the bands, the venue, the vendors and the “Industrial Burgers”.

After seeing this, I thought I might give it a go with OUCC. I managed to find someone on Twitter who was planning to go, and as it turns out we were really the only people Tweeting OUCC!! Hahaha… That said, you don’t need lots of people to successfully Tweet an event. There were people who couldn’t make the event watching the Tweets and sometimes even commenting back. We covered the essential points, and concisely as possible. I thought the end result was pretty interesting.

OK, now to the specifics. I started by using an iPod Touch to Tweet on the first morning. It has a pretty decent Twitter application (TwitterFon), and it uses a WIFI connection. This worked well in the actual sessions (the Keynotes in AMC, the sessions in TRSM all use the Ryerson WIFI). This didn’t work out AT ALL at the dinners, or in the movie. It would have worked with an iPhone or Blackberry, however. I also found that the iPod touch was a little tricky to type on, so my tweets took a long time and had to be kept pretty short. That meant that I wasn’t putting the speaker’s name in a quote… just took too long, and I’d be missing the next thing they said. I also ran out of battery power half-way through the day.

After lunch on the first day, I switched to a laptop. I found it to be MUCH easier to use for entering text, and add to that the ability to copy & paste, and my tweets suddenly had more context. This also meant that I could quickly find websites that were mentioned in some of the sessions and include them in my tweets, for later reference. The downside of a laptop? They’re bigger to lug around (I didn’t have a NetBook, so…), they’re more distracting to other attendees, and they can get pretty hot on your lap.

I think a small “NetBook” style computer might be a good option for this kind of thing. I don’t know how great they are for battery life, but they’re smaller yet still full-featured.

One of the best experiences I had during this was a request from “the other OUCC Twit” to ask a question of a panel that I was attending. He chose to go to another session, but was still able to get info about the session I attended. Sure – you can do the same thing with instant messaging – but this way, the information is given to ANYONE who may be following us.

This is the essence of Twitter, I think. You don’t need to join a specific discussion forum or topic-based website to find a community discussing certain things. You just need to be smart about your searches. If you’re Tweeting an event, or something that may have a specific topic, add a pound sign to a string and try to get people to include it in their Tweets.

It’s not just about broadcasting your every move – although that’s how some people use it. It’s about finding connections with other users through topics, creating your own little community through the people and topics  you follow, and creating a context on a system that appears to have none. Pretty interesting.

Yikes – that was a long post. I definitely went over my 140 character limit.

OUCC 2009 – Day 2

Day 2 of OUCC 2009 is now "over"…

Today was a short, but full, day that ended in lunch and the dispersion of all of the folks I’ve gotten used to seeing over the last two days. We’ve learned, laughed, broken bread together, and have taken "biological breaks" together (rather, at the same time…). I’ve met people that do some of the same things I do, but at different schools. I’ve made questionable jokes and shared thoughtful insights with people I only just met.

It was a successful conference for me, from every angle.

Day 2 was full of speakers. Again, these speakers had differing topics, but all ended up sharing something or other. I don’t just mean ‘technology’. There’s *supposed* to be a technology spin to everything in this conference, so that’s far too easy!!

For me, the common thread for all of the speakers today was Strategies, Projects and Resources.

The first session was a panel discussion with the CIOs of  Windsor, York, McMaster, OCAD, Laurier and Ryerson. I’ll have to admit that quite a bit of this discussion, as well as that of James Norrie (which followed) was above me, in that I understood the topics but that the actual discussion was meant for my bosses and not for me (much talk of ‘governance’). That said, I came away with some interesting insights. Probably the most interesting series of points had to do with offering students systems (like email), vs. having them sign up for one of the many full-featured and free online systems of their choice. This was a conceptual discussion, not a practical one – so things like the Patriot act were not addressed at length. As highlighted above, it’s a discussion of strategy (whose needs, and how are they served and implemented?) and resources (do we really save much $$ by not offering the services?).

James Norrie’s talk highlighted the way our approach to projects is backwards. The focus tends to be on  Capacity (referring to $$ primarily), then on the projects, then the strategy. It’s important to consider the strategy first, then work out the details of the projects and capacity. He made an interesting analogy that went something along the lines of "If you get the recipe right, you can always play with how you bake the goods."

Our final speaker of the morning, Ann Medina, spoke of being prepared for the future by expecting surprises. She talked of her experiences in the field of journalism, and connected them to her love for video games and how both of these things taught her to be prepared for unexpected changes. Specifically, she discussed how video games can teach you how to strategize and allocate resources, which can be applied to real life.

All of these things certainly apply to anyone working with technology – the changes are so constant, and sometimes unexpected. We need to be prepared to accept the changes, take on the new challenges, and rethink how we do things. It’s part of what we do – and for many of us, part of who we are.

I’ll end this post here… I will be posting a bit of a rundown of my Twitter experience during the conference, which was really very positive.



OUCC 2009 – Day 1

This is me, at the OUCC conference at Ryerson 2009.

Last night was a good intro – fun dinner and movie night (Star Trek was supercool!).

Today started with a bang! I got a dragon engraved on my cell phone at the Rogers booth! Ahahahaha… but seriously, this morning was packed with great stuff. I should also mention that I’m taking the opportunity to learn about the use of Twitter for events, by Tweeting during this conference. There are sadly only a couple of us tweeting about it, and you can find our posts by searching by oucc or #oucc on Twitter. I’ll post a recap of this part of the experience later.

We’ve had two great speakers today: Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario; and our keynote speaker David Suzuki. On paper, their talks were different – hers on the protection of our personal information, and his on the environment. When it came down to it, they talked about some very common things. Take into consideration that we are at a technology conference, where nearly everyone has gadgets – mostly used for communication, and accounts, and take in gads of information in this advanced culture of ours. Now consider that when you get to the very core of it, both of our speakers spoke of the roles and needs of individuals, as a part of a community. They both spoke of "the economy" as a construct that puts up roadblocks to the work that they do (which affects us all), and of the difficulties people have dividing facts from opinions. 

I won’t go into detail about each of their talks… please look them both up. Both are interesting, engaging, experts in their fields and I was pleased to attend both talks.

I’m now in the afternoon sessions, and have been Tweeting all along. The sessions have been interesting, the Twitter exercise has been fun, and I’m pretty sure dinner will be great! (Hahaha… you know where my mind is. Don’t take it to mean that I’m bored – I’m ALWAYS thinking about food). 

IF you are at OUCC and want to contribute to our information gathering on Twitter, please do! All you need is a wireless Internet device ( computer, smart phone, iPod touch — and Ryerson provided the wireless info in your registration badge), a Twitter account, and some thoughts!! Simply add #oucc to your updates (TWEETS!) and they’ll be aggregated with ours in the search! We would love to have more voices tweeting along with us.