All was atwitter at Canadian University Press conference
January 23, 2011 by Brittany Tiplady
The National Canadian University Press (CUP) conference in Montreal was an opportunity for eager university students to mingle, but face-to-face socializing took a back burner to social media.
The 73rd annual CUP conference took place Jan. 12-16 in Montreal. Editorial staff from The Runner, Kwantlen’s independent newspaper, attended the conference along with approximately 300 student journalists, editors and designers from around the country.
Twitter not only was valuable addition to the conference, but a tool for 300 students to communicate instantaneously, showing the prominent voice Twitter has in the world of new media.
“It was cool to see what other people were thinking about specific things. In particular, there were a lot of people tweeting during a few of the keynote presentations, which kind of lightened the load on a couple of fairly snore-heavy speeches,” said Brad Michelson, the culture editor at UVic’s newspaper, The Martlet.
“Then again, it was cool to see what people’s plans were and to hear about restaurants, bars in town. It was just a cool social tool.”
The convenience of being able to speak to the person next to you, while keeping up with rest of the conference updates through Twitter, enhanced the Nash (a short form of “national”) experience and emphasized the importance of journalists receiving and using information from multiple sources.
“Aside from a tool for research, Twitter is also really useful for promoting one’s publication and work. Social media has been a blessing and a curse for media as a whole, but I prefer to think that it’s helping develop new media and evolving how media works,” said Michelson.
At each keynote, seminar and social event, iPhones and Blackberries were put to use while students documented each of the highs and lows.
“Twitter, in particular, allowed people to interact socially during times where they normally wouldn’t be, like speeches, and seminars. People could make commentaries, discuss opinions and share their general thoughts and impressions. I really enjoyed that kind of sub-culture, part of the conference,” said Michelson.
Twitter at Nash became the easiest way to find fellow students with similar interests.
Andrew Bates tweeted: “I’ve been getting follows and wondering ‘what, I wasn’t following these people already?’ This is almost entirely because of #nash73.”
“Great to meet (now connected) to so many smart journos. Thanks for your time. Loved meeting you all,” tweeted Wilf Dinnick.
Students continually refreshed the #nash73 feed in order to review a constant stream of updates on everything from seminars to critiques of the catering to hangover complaints.
“It was pretty entertaining to read through the #nash73 hash-tag throughout the conference. Everything from commentary on presentations or keynotes to seeing what other conference people were up to. It was definitely an source of entertainment that actually enhanced my experience there,” said Michelson.
“Last night’s drunken tweets are the best breakfast reading ever #nash73,” tweeted Sarah Petz.
Tweets sent throughout the four days became a significant part of the conference experience, even allowing for some competitive (and comical) tension between publications.
Colin Sharpe tweeted, “The day I remove the #nash73 column from TweetDeck will be a very sad one.”