Twice a year, you’ll notice that I–and other music therapists–start talking about one thing over and over and over again…
In the fall, we chat about the annual national conference for the American Music Therapy Association. In the spring, it’s our 7 regional music therapy conferences.
I’ve noticed a change in the past couple of years related to our conferences…and especially our regional conferences. It used to be (you know, *waaaaay* back in 2009) that you only kept up with your own regional conference. But now?
With the growing presence of music therapists using Twitter and Facebook, it’s possible to keep updated on ALL the regional conferences.
Personally, I’ve already configured my desktop Tweetdeck application with columns that follow the hashtags for each regional conference. Last week, it was #swamta11 (for the Southwestern regional conference) and #glramta11 (Great Lakes region). This week there are four: #maramta11 (Mid-Atlantic Region), #neramta11 (New England region), #seramta11 (South-eastern region), and #wramta11 (Western region). The final regional conference is next week’s Midwestern one (#mwamta11).
I mentioned to my husband that I was following the updates for all these regional conferences and his first question was…why? What is the point?
I had to think about this. What IS the reason for following all these regional conference updates? I’m not there in person. It’s not like I’m learning anything or leaving with that invigorating post-conference glow. So what’s the point?
After some thought, I came up with an initial list of 5 reasons why it’s beneficial to follow conference-related Twitter updates:
1) It gives you ideas for your OWN conference planning.
2) It’s an opportunity to notice trends (like how ukeleles are still popular)
3) You connect with your online friends through jokes and shared experiences.
4) You can share useful information with conference attendees…BEFORE the conference.
5) You can be introduced to new people you want to hear and new sessions you want to attend.
Now this is MY list of benefits…but what do you think? Why follow conferences through Twitter (which include non-music therapy conferences…like the popular #sxsw conference earlier this month)? How do YOU benefit? If you have more ideas, please leave a comment in the boxes below.
P.S. If you are on Twitter, I invite you to follow me, @KimberlySMoore 🙂