Tweetwalls at events

Have you been to an event recently featuring a tweetwall? This is a big screen tuned into the hashtag for the event, so people can tweet and see their messages displayed for everyone at the event to see.

I’ve tried arranging this myself at a few events, but mostly I have been disappointed. It’s obvious at a social media gathering that everyone will use Twitter, but at regular IT events, especially IT management, it’s unusual to get anyone tweeting.
So I was impressed by the results of the experiment by the British Computer Society last night at their annual UK IT Industry awards. Even though these awards were co-hosted by Computer Weekly’s rival magazine, Computing, I was there because I was a judge for the awards.
The BCS installed three immense tweetwalls, the biggest flat-screen displays I have ever seen, and all displaying the latest tweets on the event. What was really interesting though was how busy they were and how it created a real buzz about the event… the people at our table were often talking together about some of the comments on the tweetwall.
I was seated close to BCS Deputy CEO Ian Ryder, and he explained to me that they had been nervous about the idea of the tweetwall. It’s only natural at a prestigious event featuring a couple of thousand people – to have entirely open access to the display, plus a lot of free alcohol, could be a recipe for disaster. But credit to the tweeters at the event, nobody abused the system.
Naturally enough, Computer Weekly made a play to take over the wall. You can see from the photo that I was the top tweeter, followed by Angelica Mari, and I noticed some tweets popping up from Bryan Glick… and he was not even there, but he was reminding the elite of the IT community that as the Computing journalists would all be hungover today, it’s a good day to turn to!
I expect to see a lot more tweetwalls at events soon.

Tweetwall, me as number 1, Angelica as number 2

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Hi! I'm so happy to read your article because you're saying exactly what we try to explain to a lot of event organisers : Use a tweet wall will automatically create the buzz on twitter about your event. That's so easy, and you're right, the audience is now waiting for tweet walls in events. It's the reason we have created A web based platform that let anyone create his own customized tweet wall. I have noticed on your picture that in your case, the tweet wall was displaying lots of information. We have chosen to create more visually appelaling walls (we have 16 different styles). My impression with your pic is that this wall looks like a simple web page. Was it cute enough for these kind of prestigious events ? (Yes ok this comment is also to let you discover our startup but I'm really interested about this debate and it's difficult for me to be completely neutral)
Vincent, thanks for your comment. Your Twitter wall stuff looks great. You might want to ask the Computer Weekly team - try @computerweekly what they are doing for the blogger of the year competition on thu next week...
We use twitter walls for many of our events - just large plasmas and off we go. For our last 360IT event, we used "visable tweets" for displaying all tweets regarding our hashtag @360IT - looked fantastic and to counter what the author of the blog above says, people were talking about the event all day using the tag - it was fantastic! We've recently been watching (on Twitter of course) other events and its been great listening to comments (good and bad) as they happen.
@mark thanks for the advice (it's done ;-) and the compliments...
Yes, we used one at the 360°IT Event in September and it was a great success - really added to the buzz at the event. I did a bit of nifty search syntax to auto-filter the more sweary tweets - and kept a weather eye on the feed for 'hijack' attempts (like CW's last night!), but we didn't have any major incidents. The best tool for big-screen tweeting, IMO, is, which is what we used. ~ Jim Mortleman
We've been using these at our events since before Twitter came into being - back then we called them 'backchannels'. We've had backchannels in village halls with minimal Internet connectivity, which has allowed remote participation, and you can project a tweetwall onto a bedsheet if you have to!
Hi Mark Great Article and so glad you liked our Tweetwall - you may be interested to know that application also builds a social application based on the people who Tweeted during the UK IT Industry awards.