This year, for BIAG’s input into the Heritage Open Days, we are hosting a Twitter conference instead of our usual face to face offer. Although we miss the contact with the public, we are looking forward to bringing to light some great stories of industrial archaeology projects and places to share with everyone who is interested in the subject.
Follow us and join in using the hashtag #BIAG20
The programme is as follows:
- 16.00 I like it, tell me more: Getting in to Industrial Archaeology
- 16.15 Saving a Revolution: Industrial Heritage and the Impact of COVID-19
- 16.45 Surviving the Wrecking Ball: Industrial Buildings in Berkshire
- 17.15 Funiculars: The Ups and Downs of a Leisure Transport Phenomenon
- 17.45 Berkshire’s Historic Gas Industry
- 18.15 Reading Cemetery: The Industrialisation of Death
- 18.45 The Conservation of Industrial Written Heritage
Content is being provided by our BIAG members with a guest appearance from Mike Nevell, Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England and Chair of the Association for Industrial Archaeology. While we have set a time for the experience that content included and the Q&A will remain available for later viewing using the hashtag to locate it.
A Twitter Conference – what on earth is that?
Twitter conferences have been used with great success and are a great way of discussing a theme through a series of papers or a topic in an individual paper. In essence, they are a like a normal conference presentation, but instead of speaking you present the information in a series of tweets, usually no more than 15, over a given timeslot. Here is the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology’s definition for their twitter conference, #PMAC:
“social media event that occurs from the comfort of your desk/sofa/bed/bus/whatever. This event is meant to bring together interested people from around the world in an online setting to encourage communication and collaboration, which also happens to be free, easy to follow and allows for multi-stranded communications, without the hassle of flights, accommodation, warm white wine and canapés.”
(We have used this excellent definition quote from Lorna Richardson and Jim Dixon, organisers the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference, #PATC)
Who can participate?
As long as presenters are on Twitter they can participate, either by using a personal Twitter account, a company or project account. We can support those who are new to Twitter – please don’t let unfamiliarity with the platform put you off from joining in! If necessary we can tweet from the BIAG account on your behalf.
How similar will it be to a normal face-to-face conference?
The conference will have a program with chairs to introduce ‘tweeters’, groups of papers in themed sessions and discussion slots, all timetabled throughout the day. Tweets replace standard conference PowerPoint presentations. Tweets have a 280 character limit, and can include links, short video clips and jpegs. PowerPoints slides can be converted into jpgs and are a useful way of presenting additional text and visual information.
How should I prepare?
Preparation is key. Presenters need to prepare a series of between 10-15 tweets to create a narrative thread on their topic for discussion. The skill is in getting to the essence of the topic. The tweets are numbered consecutively 1/15, 2/15…..…15/15. The presenter replies to each tweet in turn to create a thread. The conference hashtag is #BIAG20 and it is essential that this is used in every tweet to enable those ‘attending’ to find presentations.
It is vital to pre-prepare your tweets, with the text ideally in a word document to copy and paste and the images or links all labelled so they are easy to find. Do run through your tweets to check that your text fits into the 280 character limit.
What will happen on the day?
The conference and individual sessions will be introduced by the organising team who will chair each session. Presenters will be given a timed slot and they start tweeting as soon as their allotted time begins, regardless of whether other presenters have or haven’t finished. ‘Delegates’ can follow the conference through the hashtag #BIAG20. Hence, it’s important that the hashtag is used in every tweet.
What about discussion?
Discussion time will be included in the conference program and chairs will facilitate discussion. Those following the conference can comment on any individual tweet within a presentation or at the end of the thread. An advantage of Twitter is that people across time-zones can access and engage with the presentations and reach is potentially much greater than at a standard conference. Of course, if presenters don’t delete their tweets afterwards people can continue to access the presentations and continue discussion past the end of the conference.
Victoria Stevens on the history of the transport network that supported the Consett Iron Company’s works, 1840 – 1980 @ConsettWorks, #SWOS20 https://twitter.com/ConsettWorks/status/1278247355251294208?s=20
Matt Bristow on the development and decline of Corby and its New Town. @eric180_UK, #SWOS20 https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1278609362165075968.html
John Winterburn on the changes in transport infrastructure in Jordan, @GPSJohn, #PMAC20 https://twitter.com/GPSJohn/status/1251468718632325120?s=20
Our thanks to The University of Swansea’s Social Worlds of Steel project for sharing this written guidance on Twitter conferences which we have adapted for BIAG; see @Steelworlds #SWOS20 https://www.swansea.ac.uk/history/history-research/social-worlds-of-steel/
A copy of this BIAG Twitter Conference guidance can be downloaded from here.