About Speaking at AADE15

The bow tie has landed. #AADE15

A post shared by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

And just like that my 24 hours in New Orleans is complete.

If you want to get to the good stuff, here’s the link for my slides, data, and additional resources I provided after my presentation – http://snider.io/aade2015.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I can call my presentation a success. I thought I was invited to speak about Twitter data and show off some cool graphics to a crowd that understood the basic mechanics of Twitter, but was looking for more insight into what the diabetes community has done and continues to do on Twitter. I completely underestimated the amount of time I should have spent covering the basics.

“How many of you are actively on Twitter?” For some reason I didn’t interpret the lack of hands in the air as a sign that I needed to slow down and focus on the simple stuff first:

What is Twitter? How do you sign up for Twitter? What the heck is that “#” symbol? What is an impression? How do you use Twitter? Why should I use Twitter? How do you Tweet? How do I follow you? Who should I follow? Why does this thing need my phone number? Help?!

My slides accounted for some of these questions, and I did my best to field questions as they came in after my presentation had concluded, but this crowd could have used a hands-on walkthrough of Twitter basics before diving into some rather hardcore numbers about the highly engaged segment of the diabetes community. (As I learned during the opening of the Q&A portion of my presentation, the hands-on social media bootcamp is actually tomorrow (Saturday) morning. I hope that session is well-attended.)

After my hour was up, I ended up spending about thirty minutes answering questions, guiding attendees through the Twitter signup process, explaining what Dropbox was, and thanking people for coming to hear me speak. A number of people in my session said they didn’t understand what I was talking about, but they were motivated to understand and try to use Twitter. I think that’s the big takeaway for me after all of this.

As excited as I was to speak at this conference, I took the wrong approach with how I delivered this presentation. If I had known there would have been this big of a knowledge gap among attendees, I would have devoted more time to breaking down the terms and mechanics of Twitter, and then spent the remainder of my time taking a deeper dive into a single hashtag – likely #dsma – rather than high-level summary data about three hashtags.

Other tidbits of feedback I received resulted in some meaningful and immediate changes to the information I provided. The Dropbox folder now has all of my presentation data separated from the how-to guides so newcomers can focus on the basics. Further, I added a list of people to follow for those in the CDE community just starting their Twitter experience; because discovering who to follow is more valuable for this crowd than finding what to follow.

I’m grateful for the opportunity that was offered to me to speak at the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting. Rare is the opportunity to stand in front of a crowd as a featured speaker, as a person of interest, as some kind of subject matter expert. I know I don’t have all the answers, but if I can help point people in the right direction, I’ll always do my best to expand and evolve the diabetes community.

Hopefully I made a difference.

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