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Twitter for business: A help or a hassle at IT conferences?

I’m still reflecting on last week’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, where my colleagues and I gathered a lot of good information on CIO leadership, IT outsourcing, health care, CIO innovation and more — and where some of us used Twitter for business to share, in real time, some of what we were hearing.

As I live-Tweeted and followed others via the #MITCIO hash tag, I have to say there were upsides and downsides to using Twitter for business. I’m used to taking extensive notes at conferences, but with live-Tweeting I felt the margin for error was greater — not only for typos, but also for failing to provide crucial context for a quote. And I know that I was more likely to miss that context as I was typing out Tweets – context that I would almost certainly capture when taking notes the old-fashioned way. On the other hand, I gathered a lot of Twitter followers relevant to my work, and now have the opportunity to follow and learn from them, as well.

My colleague Kristen Caretta, who has blogged about the using Twitter as a business tool and live-Tweeted from last week’s Forrester IT Forum, felt the same way.

We did find live-Tweeting to be helpful for capturing and sharing sound bites — but did you?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the MIT event (with full speaker titles added, since the darn 140-character limit didn’t allow for them as I Tweeted them):

“Just because a CEO carries a BlackBerry, he/she doesn’t necessarily get technology. CIOs must show how investment pays off.” — Jim Champy, chairman of consulting, Perot Systems Corp.

“Innovation is easy — it’s called continual improvement.” Look to process improvement, not big infrastructure change. — Alan Trefler, CEO, Pegasystems

“I don’t see cloud computing as a game changer for big companies. … They have to clean up infrastructure [first].” — Jeanne Ross, director, MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research

Don’t waste recession: “Hopefully, 10 years from now, we’ll look back and call this ‘The Great Restructuring.'” — Erik Brynjolfsson, Schussel professor of management and director of the MIT Center for Digital Business

“We’ve been talking a lot about cloud computing here. Maybe the next big thing is crowd computing.” — Tom Malone, Patrick J. McGovern professor of management and director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence

So — do you find these Tweets useful or engaging? Does using Twitter — either as a Tweeter or a follower — enrich your understanding of a conference while you are there? Do you follow individuals’ Twitter feeds or conference hashtags when you’re not in attendance? Or would you rather that we bring you fuller coverage after the fact?

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