A look back at social media use at the ALT-C conference over the years. Very much personal recollections, certainly not a definitive history. Later today I’ll be heading to Nottingham for the ALT-C conference #altc2013 It’s ALT’s 20th conference which makes me feel like a relative newbie to the field of learning technology. My first ALT-C was in Sunderland in 2002, about which I remember very little – David Puttnam and the Stadium of Light. My first Social Media ALT-C My first social media fueled ALT-C was 2008 in Leeds and I think that’s the conference where social media first featured heavily. There was stuff going on before that (e.g. see #altc2006 photos on Flickr, #altc2007 RSS Yahoo Pipe) but a minority sport I think (I didn’t attend between 2003 & 2008, so can’t be sure). By 2008 I’d been messing quite a lot with blogs, wikis, Facebook, RSS and the like – I’d run my first social media workshop in 2006 “Social Software: Blog it, Digg it, Poke it!”.
At the time of #altc2008 one of my tools of choice was Netvibes. Ahead of the conference I created this ALT-C 2008 Netvibes page and compiled an OPML file (collection of RSS) from it for others to subscribe to. I also created a conference wiki with Kris Roger (an LSE colleague) & Athina Chatzigavriil (UCL & future LSE colleague) to collate comments from delegates to help us write the 2008 Conference Review for the ALT Newsletter. The conference also featured Crowdvine which continued to be used as the conference site until last year. Crowdvine made a a lot of use of RSS and enabled delegates to add their various social media channels to their profiles e.g. my 2008 profile. The 2008 conference also saw the development of a conference Fringe with the introduction of F-ALT. I particularly remember the Edubloggers meet-up where I first met many people who have since featured heavily in my social media network. Talking of which, Twitter also arrived on the ALT-C scene at the 2008 conference with 310 hash-tagged tweets. See Twitter at ALT-C below. While ALT’s Youtube channel now features recordings from 2008, they weren’t actually added until 2011. I helped Seb Schmoller set-up the ALT YouTube channel in 2009 and the first uploaded video was Making Group-Work Work from the 2009 conference. Working as a WPC at ALT-C For the 2010 & 2011 ALT-Cs I was one of the four Web Participation Co-ordinators. This was a new role on the conference programme committee tasked with helping make the most of the online aspects of the conference including social media, crowdvine and the live streaming. I didn’t attend the 2010 conference in Nottingham in person but was very active from afar and did a lot of tweeting from the official @A_L_T Twitter account which I’d helped get off the ground in 2009. Twitter Usage at ALT-C Although Twitter featured earlier, as the chart shows it was 2009 that it really took off as the backchannel tool of choice.
These numbers have been taken from topsy.com and for each year I’ve counted the number of tweets tagged within the same calendar year that included #altc20xx, altc20xx, or #altcxx. Despite a slight dip last year there has already been much more pre-conference tweeting in 2013. At the time of writing – lunchtime, the day before the conference, there are 1186 tweets for ALT-C 2013. I suspect the number of tweets will increase again this year despite the growth of other networks such as Google+. Top of the Tweeters
- 2007 – @mmetcalfe (1 tweet)
- 2008 – @andypowe11 (51)
- 2009 – @jamesclay (252)
- 2010 – @dajbconf (333)
- 2011 – @digitalfprint (423)
- 2012 – @digitalfprint (403)
Updated 08/10/2014 with the following tweet from @mhawksey:
— Martin Hawksey (@mhawksey) October 8, 2014