ADEPT Conference 2013

Being covered live for the first time, the Annual Conference for the Association of Directors for Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) takes place in Manchester on 6th and 7th November 2013.

Keen to explore how social media can help spread the voice of the Association and improve the value for the delegates, the event will be liveblogged by two ADEPT staff and I.  How do we plan to make it a success?

  1. Engage with the audience and encourage them to take part in the online discussion
  2. Provide a variety of multimedia coverage, including photo’s, audio, video, and hyperlinking to relevant content elsewhere on the web
  3. Share and cross-post between platforms to maximise publicity for the event
  4. Be on hand to answer questions and explore the value of liveblogging and other social media tools to develop a social capital within the local government Highways and Transport sector,

Follow the liveblog here.

With support from Steve Kent, President of ADEPT,  this is an experimental approach within the sector, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it goes.

9:50am: It’s great to be part of a team livetweeting this event.  We’ve Dom Browne from Transport Network, Ellen and Rachel as Policy Officers from ADEPT and myself.  There’s a lot of interest about what we’re doing, which is very encouraging.  We’ll be starting soon.

11:50am:  With the first session now complete, here’s a quick reflection on the experience so far:

  1. Dom Browne from Transport Network providing coverage of the key aspects of the presentation, including quotes
  2. The question and answer sessions were covered by Rachel and Ellen, and two questions were posted from the floor via Twitter, great.
  3. With four of us tweeting, and some in the audience, the challenge is balancing input so as not to duplicate.  Ellen and Rachel have included photo’s and have been retweeting tweets via @ADEPTLA.  I’ve been trying to fill in some detail by providing hyperlinks to related content, and adding some audio and video coverage too.
  4. Several audience members following us.  Some are balancing on the edge of diving in to use Twitter, but are monitoring how it goes today.  Challenges include issue of dual identities when representing both their own employer and a body such as ADEPT.  Different Twitter Accounts required?  Some would like to see more critical observation of ADEPT’s work and contributions to the sector.
  5. Plan for session 2: Continue with roles for now, but consider incorporating comments already received.

5:30pm: Well, that’s the first day over, how did it go?  Here’s a quick review of the Live Blog experience so far:

  1. Between us we’ve amassed over 270 tweets during the day. Many of these have been direct text tweets,  the majority have included the event hashtag #ADEPTconf13, and a good proportion include mentions of other organisations (which is good to help build the social network).  There have been some photo’s, and a couple of audio and video posts, which were predominantly from this morning, although more are required.
  2. ADEPTLA have increased their Twitter following from 24 to 50, and these include presenters and key influencers, and this is a very positive result so far.
  3. Several members of the audience have tweeted during the day
  4. There have been a number retweets between contributors, and tweeting of hyperlinked content to related websites mentioned in the presentations.

There have been between 2 and 4 watchers on the Liveblog during the day, and we know some are following tweets directly on Twitter, but this is not a large audience (as expected).  The main reason for this is that the audience are not familiar with this type of technology,

Three things we need to improve on, to widen the audience, give a richer multimedia experience and reduce the reliance on direct text tweets are:

  1. Gather more photos, videos and interviews (we’ve not done any today)
  2. Make more effort to develop an online discussion that draws discussion and debate forward.  This is something to focus on tomorrow, by taking the wider context of the presentations and discussion, and raise further questions / debate.
  3. Continue to engage and link with other organisations, to help spread the ADEPT message

The feedback on our activities has been positive, and there is an interested curiosity about what we are doing and why,  Many recognise they haven’t ‘dipped their toes’ into the social media world yet, but are at least thinking of doing so as a result of today.   There are still some concerns about how to do this, and use the right voice, to balance between governance and networking, something raised at the #citizenengagement Scrutiny Committee meeting in Birmingham.

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