The FIPP World Magazine Congress is an international magazine conference held every two years. In 2007 it was in Beijing and in 2011 it is heading to Delhi but this year it was London’s turn to host it for the first time in 20 years. It was hosted by the Periodical Publishers Association, FIPP’s UK member organisation, on 5 and 6 May.
The main conference and exhibition was in Old Billingsgate, former fish markets in the City of London, with the opening party at Kensington Palace and the closing party at the Saatchi Gallery on King’s Road.
The conference had a live website, fipplive09.com. I was hired to write breaking news stories for the website, along with other people who would be writing blog posts and uploading photographs and video. I was also asked to write Twitter updates in real time from the conference sessions and the parties.
I was particularly pleased with how the Twitter coverage worked out. I pitched the idea to the PPA back in January and they were keen. We talked about options but I encouraged them to set up a dedicated account rather than piggy-backing off my personal account so that only people who were interested in receiving a high volume of conference coverage would see the tweets.
By the end of the two days we had 571 followers to the @fipp2009 account and dozens of people interacting by retweeting or replying to my tweets and even translating them into Portugese!
The great thing was that extended the reach of the conference to an audience that couldn’t be there in person. It also provided content for the website because we set up a feed to pull the tweets on to fipplive09.com. We used the #fipp09 hashtag to make it easier for people to search for related content on Twitter, though I saw that others had used #fipp as well.
I think Twitter can work really well for conferences but I think a dedicated account is definitely the way to go (or live-blogging if you are doing it unofficially). It can get very tedious when someone’s feed is suddenly full of conference reportage when it’s not what their followers have signed on for. Twitter is an open medium and anyone can do it but if you are wanting to do it professionally on behalf of a conference you need to find the right person – someone who can touch type and has the skill to condense concepts and quotes to 140 characters.
Meanwhile, for a bit of fun do check out the photos from the Saatchi Gallery closing party – that’s me and my man in the Finnish bubble chair.