Since it is that time of year and many of us are preparing for the 2011 NAFSA Annual Conference in Vancouver I thought I would write a post about how to make the most of the annual conference, whether you can be there or not, by using social media.
First of all, I wanted to mention that my cell phone provider is Verizon and they told me that any texting I do will be part of my normal package so I plan on communicating primarily through these means. So if you have Verizon this may be a good way to go. You can use your texts to update your Facebook and Twitter accounts even when you cannot access the internet so this is a nice, inexpensive alternative.
Second, I want to say - Make Use of Your Resources. This is extremely important. For this I am mostly talking about social media but this also pertains to networking in general. This can mean the people you know, the sessions you attend, the receptions you go to, etc. You can learn quite a bit from the simply conversations you have with people in passing at any of the above events.
Now in terms of social media, the NAFSA Annual Conference is a hot bed of activity for those both at the conference and those that are unable to attend but you are using social media. If you haven't started using Twitter or something like this, NOW is the time. There will be thousands of tweets happening from the sessions, official and unofficial TweetUps, receptions, information meetings, and the exhibit halls. So you can find out what is happening even if you can't be in the other session you want to or if you can't be there at all. In addition, if you can't be there you can also ask questions and many times others tweeting will see these questions and either answer or ask the presenter for you and get the answer.
For those attending the conference, I want to highly recommend you attend the TweetUps to meet others using social media technology. Plus, I have been assured there will be free wifi for the TweetUps so it is your chance to take advance of this plus meet a great group of people!
I also love all the pictures people post of attendees in action. This could be of presentations, the exhibit hall, receptions, whatever so if you are going this is your chance to let everyone know what they are missing :) and encourage people to attend a session.
I also encourage everyone who has a social media account or who is thinking of having one to start using it before the session to find out what the popular sessions will be, the popular events, and the great places to visit in Vancouver will be. You can also ask questions so you can head to Vancouver ready to hit the ground running since it is a sprint not a marathon of a conference.
Finally, I would like to suggest that everyone log in and create a profile using the NAFSA Conference Connection so you can set up your agenda and schedule meetings with organizations/institutions you want to meet with and so you don't double or triple book yourself (not that I ever did that :)).
I hope you have found these suggestions useful and hope to see many of you in a few weeks in Vancouver.
This blog is all about social media. I hope to offer tips, tricks, advice and more on using social media within international education and international travel.