SCAM’16 is becoming “The Tweeting Conference.” In this guest post, I, Moritz Beller, will explain how I came up with this slogan and what it means. The idea of increasing SCAM’s visibility was drafted out together with my social media co-chair Felienne and the SCAM organizing committee.
The aim of Twitter-ifying the conference is to reach a greater audience than the physical attendees and attract more attention to the cool work authors are doing at SCAM. We will collect tweet-sized abstracts at camera-ready submission time and then tweet them out from the @ieee_scam Twitter account. Moreover, we encourage authors to submit up to three controversial statements their work has brought up. This hopefully leads not only to more discussion online, but also to interactive, sharpened presentations at SCAM’16. We will live-tweet important statements during a talk, too. The goal of all this is to get researchers and developers, whether they participate in SCAM or not, to interact with the authors and read the papers. Each tweet will be accompanied by a link to a freely accessible pre-print, such that no one is locked out.
Tweeting will not be uni-directional, either. Session chairs will follow the online Twitter discussions and ask questions posted on Twitter. Since some feel intimidated to ask in front of a crowd, this also makes SCAM more inclusive on the inside. Thus we aim to enhance both online and offline visibility, enforce SCAM’s discussion-oriented character (which is great for new ideas and PhD students, by the way!), increase community awareness and inclusion, enhance presentations, and make it easier for outsiders to participate in this joyful community. Yes, it’s an experiment, so we don’t know the outcome. Let’s participate and see how it turns out!
In order to to get people to tweet, there might be some cool prizes, or so I heard ;-)! Being The Tweeting Conference is inline with SCAM’s traditionally very discussion-oriented format that has always made it a fun and different conference to attend. This year, we feature a new engineering track, specially suitable for submissions from industry.
Now, you say: “140 characters is not enough for scientific content.” I tend to agree. However, when I look at past Twitter coverage of conferences (typically done by someone in the audience, not the authors!), it seems to be a valuable community resource. So, yes, some some tweets will be too general, too controversial, or too tame. And yes, authors will have to think a bit about how to properly represent their work in 140 characters. But I think this can be a good lesson for all. I also don’t think we should measure success by how many times @ieee_scam tweets get re-tweeted on average. I’d rather expect that there will be a power-law like distribution: a few select abstracts or controversial statements will reach many retweets, and it is great to give authors the chance for this kind of publicity and audience. Moreover, if you can get one expert in your field to interact with your paper, I think that may be worth more than 50 retweets ;).
In short, SCAM’16 is going to be The Tweeting Conference. We give authors the possibility to send out tweet-sized abstracts and controversial statements via the official @ieee_scam Twitter handle. This will hopefully increase the visibility of the authors’ hard and great work.