by Carol Apollo-Kennedy (Social Media Consultant, Carol Apollo Digital Services)
The online community surrounding the Charleston Conference has been growing every year. Attendees and aspiring attendees become a virtual village for the week, asking for recommendations and sharing information through the hashtag #ChsConf2018. Although there is nothing quite like being there, there were many opportunities to keep up with all the happenings in Charleston solely through social media.
Actually, the fun started before everyone had even arrived in Charleston! There were posts and tweets about travel arrangements and pictures of airplanes and luggage. First-time attendees and returning guests were eager to start their separate journeys and they were happy to share their plans with the world (https://twitter.com/kaitneese/status/1059655039445319681). The travelers also told us what they most wanted to see, hear, and eat once they got into town.
Everyone seemed excited to check out the local cuisine. As always, Magnolias Restaurant (https://www.facebook.com/MagnoliasCharleston/) was noted by many as a can’t-miss part of their trip, but there were many new spots mentioned as well. Pounce Cat Cafe + Wine Bar (https://www.facebook.com/pouncecatcafe/) was one surprisingly popular new destination among conference attendees. Yes, it really is a cafe filled with cats and it really was mentioned in more than one social media post about the conference.
As always, there were gorgeous photos of Charleston, including the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, and lots and lots of palm trees. Many captured digital evidence of long-awaited meetups and meals. Some people snapped the interiors and exteriors of our two main venues, The Francis Marion Hotel and The Gaillard Center (https://twitter.com/MsLanellJ/status/1060293989117714432); included in these were pics of speakers, slides, and vendor tables.
We cannot forget to mention our favorite squirrel paparazzo, Corey Seeman (@cseeman). Corey was kind enough to share some photos of furry fauna in Marion Square (https://twitter.com/cseeman/status/1061370067487727621). Corey might love squirrels a little more than the rest of us, but his gorgeous photos could make anyone appreciate those cute critters.
On Tuesday, the Vendor Showcase was all over Twitter and Facebook. Vendors were sharing their table numbers and promotions all day. One of our favorites was British Online Archives’ (@boa_map) crowdsourced story, “A Librarian Walks Into a Bar” (https://twitter.com/boa_map/status/1059857522755035141) and Bloomsbury Digital’s (@BloomsburyDigtl) trivia wheel, where you could win a pineapple. Of course, everyone was excited to show off their swag (https://twitter.com/elena_tere/status/1059955449536147457). There were t-shirts and tote bags and mousepads galore! A few attendees joked that they’d never again have to purchase a pen.
As more people arrived in Charleston, our hashtag got a workout. We got a peek at some of the Preconferences and tweets about the Welcome Reception, sponsored by The Modern Language Association (@MLAnews). Then there were pictures from the First-Time Attendees Reception, sponsored by Better World Books (@BWBooks), where we celebrated the Up and Comer Award winners.
There were quite a few conference-related hashtags trending on Twitter. Two standouts were #OER (https://twitter.com/tceles_B_hsup/status/1060183984758501377) and #FastPitch. Open educational resources are obviously a hot topic right now and the hashtag was being used liberally. The Charleston Fast Pitch Competition rewards innovations and entrepreneurship in academic libraries or related industries and was referenced often by conference-goers congratulating the winners.
Social Media was abuzz with Annette Thomas’ (@AnnetteKThomas1) announcement that Clarivate Analytics (@clarivate) would be renamed Web of Science (@webofscience). The announcement was made during her inspiring keynote speech, “The Future of Research Information: Open, Connected, Seamless” (https://twitter.com/clarivate/status/1060169050511282176). Our online community shared quite a few compelling quotes from this speech.
Thanks to all our live tweeters! We really appreciate everyone who gave us up-to-the-minute highlights of all the sessions we couldn’t personally attend. These were the most informative posts about what was happening on the conference floor. A very special thanks to our Live-Tweet MVP, Cris Ferguson (@librarycris), who tweeted more than any other attendee. Along with a few other frequent posters, Cris went above and beyond to help all of us who couldn’t attend get some of the messages being shared by speakers in real time.
By far, the most live-tweeted speech was Ruth Okediji’s keynote, “Navigating Access to Knowledge: Copyright, Fake News, Fair Use, and Libraries” (https://twitter.com/library_connect/status/1060530852818550784). Her speech was described as exceptional. One tweeter said she is, “Really good at making copyright sexy.” Based on the quotes that were shared, I might have to agree.
Lindsay Cronk (@linds_bot) and Rachel Fleming (@RachelMFleming) from (@theacqlib) presented the wildly popular “They Didn’t Teach This in Library School.” This session also generated quite a tweet-storm. Lindsay made a few new friends online based on her choice of opening music. Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” got the crowd hyped for the Neapolitan Session (https://twitter.com/linds_bot/status/1060212733830926337).
The Annual Reception was held at the South Carolina Aquarium and sponsored by Elsevier (@elsevier) (https://twitter.com/reeves_library/status/1062370235687297024). The aquarium is a beautiful venue with noteworthy sights around every corner. Our online friends didn’t disappoint, posting numerous photos of the sea life and decor.
The conference wrapped up with Erin Gallagher’s Poll-a-palooza (https://twitter.com/drgong/status/1060949716710670337) and the closing ceremony (https://twitter.com/librarycris/status/1060958326484357120). Cris Ferguson noted in a tweet, “Broad trends for this year’s conference include textbook affordability, all things open, and expanding the role of libraries.”
All-in-all, following the conference on social media was impressively immersive. We can’t wait to see how our online community grows and evolves in the coming years. Future conference-goers can get a taste of Charleston — the city and the conference — by checking out the Twitter and Facebook feeds. Attendees have additional opportunities to network and socialize. Best of all, when we come together online, our experiences become shared experiences.
Readers can become part of our social media community through Twitter (https://twitter.com/chsconf), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chsconf), or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/charleston-conference/) and keep the fun going until next year.
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.