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How to Incorporate Twitter into Your Presentation

by Tom Johnson on Nov 15, 2009
categories: technical-writing web-design

At the Intermountain STC workshop this morning, we talked about how to build an online presence. During my portion of the workshop, I facilitated a discussion using Twitter. With the dozen participants, all sitting in front of computers with Internet access, I told them to go to and search for the #imstc hashtag.

I posed a question for them to answer via Twitter. They responded, including the #imstc hashtag. When you include a hashtag in your tweet (placing it anywhere), you can read an aggregated view of all tweets tagged with that hashtag at After everyone responded, we read through the responses out loud and discussed them a bit.

The question I posed on Twitter
The question I posed on Twitter

When the discussion ended, I posed a new question for them to answer on Twitter and gave them a few minutes to respond. Then we read through the answers one by one, looked at trends and discussed them for a while. We did this about 4-5 times over the course of an hour. You can read the thread here.

The technique worked well because it required everyone to stay engaged. During most presentations, you can sit back and turn on your passive listening mode. But if you're periodically interacting on Twitter to respond or analyze a question, it keeps you awake. And as a presenter, it's a lot more fun when everyone is engaged like this.

I'm growing tired of presentations that are little more than lectures, so I'm going to experiment with more user-led techniques like this. Unfortunately, available wi fi at chapter meetings or conferences with participants who have computers or mobile data devices is pretty rare. But if you do have the opportunity, definitely try incorporating Twitter, even if only for Q&A at the end of your presentation.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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