The 2011 Bath Literature Festival ended last night. This year I attended a few sessions, all of which I enjoyed tremendously. All the sessions I attended seemed pretty packed too so I am assuming the event was a success.
The session I attended last night was on social networking, gaming and interaction. In it, a member of the audience mentioned that the festival had a twitter hashtag (#bathlitfest). Asked by a speaker if anyone was tweeting the session no hands went up.
After the session I thanked the guy who had alerted me to the hashtag. He said it was not promoted very well on the festival website and that the hashtag did not see much action over the duration of the festival.
So there is the opportunity. The festival attracts lots of great authors and thinkers and there are some great panel discussions. This is great content for a discussion on Twitter. And this is a great opportunity to amplify the event.
But hurdles need to be removed:
- The event needs a Twitter profile so it can lead discussion and act as a hub for festival announcements
- The chair for each session needs to tell the audience there is a hashtag and that the audience is free to live tweet the event – I did not think it would be the done thing to live tweet the sessions I went to! It didn't feel like it was
- The chair of each session should bring some of the Twitter discussion and questions into the debate
The festival organiser should provide one free ticket to each session for someone who will live tweet and blog about it.
This way the event is hugely amplified and at little cost. The event's web prescence – be it a site, Twitter, Facebook etc would then pull together the conversation around the event and long after too (and who knows what comes out of those discussions).
Events such as this should remember that the event itself is the start of the conversation, not the end.