Twitter etiquette

Historians have been live-tweeting our annual AHA conferences using the conference hashtag since the 2012 conference in Adelaide. People who are passionate about history follow these tweets across Australia and the world, and discover new and exciting work and debates emerging from historians working in or on Australia.

These guidelines draw on convenors’ experiences from the tweeting of past conferences to help conference attendees share informative tweets and to create a productive and respectful environment in the conference sessions. 

The basics

  • The conference hashtag is #OzHA2019. Add this to all the tweets you want to be seen by those following the conference twitter.
  • Identify the speaker in your tweets – attribution is important on social media too.
  • Please demonstrate the high standards of professionalism, collegiality and courtesy that characterise history as a discipline – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  • Remember to ask permission before posting photographs of people at the conference.
  • Please make sure your device is on silent!

Speakers and chairs of sessions

  • The conference is very much like a public forum, which conveys the understanding that speakers give their consent to have their papers live-tweeted. If you prefer that your paper is not tweeted please let the Chair know before the start of the session. It is the responsibility of the Chair to request people not to tweet your paper. 
  • If you have a Twitter handle mention it at the beginning of your presentation. If you are using Powerpoint slides, add your Twitter handle to the bottom of each slide.
  • At the beginning of each session the Chair should ask attendees to make their devices silent. Attendees should not be asked to turn devices off unless the presenters have requested this.

Attendees

  • Do some research before the session: find out if the speaker has a twitter handle and use that while tweeting their paper; find out if the speaker has a blog or has shared their work elsewhere online and tweet this.
  • Listen closely and quote carefully. Remember that the goal of live-tweeting a paper is for somebody who is not present to be able to follow the speaker’s argument.
  • If anyone following along on Twitter asks a question, please feel free to ask that question of the speaker and report the answer back. Be aware, however, that questions from people in the room take precedence, and ask accordingly.
  • You may find that sitting at the back of a room makes you feel less self-conscious about tweeting and it is less obtrusive for other attendees. It is also where the power outlets tend to be.
  • Good photos attract attention. Good photos light up the conference Twitter stream. They can be used by the organisers to further publicise the conference and by people blogging the conference. Don’t tweet photos if you want to retain full copyright over your photos, but if you are happy to share, go for it! When taking photos of people, it is nice to show them the photo and ask them for permission to tweet their photo.
  • Use other relevant hashtags. Let people around the world know about papers that are relevant to their interests by including another hashtag in some of your tweets. Examples of other hashtags historians could use are #dhist (digital history), #digitalhumanities, #envhist (history of the environment), #hischild, #womenshistory, #familyhistory, #genealogy, #publichistory etc. Australian hashtags you could use are #historyNSW, #historyQld, #chinozhist, #awhn (Australian Women’s History Network).
  • This article on live-tweeting at academic conferences may be helpful: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2012/oct/03/ethics-live-tweeting-academic-conferences 

Tweeting history year-round

Historians benefit from the discussion and publicity of their work on social media platforms. We encourage you to keep tweeting about history after the conference using the #OzHA2019 hashtag and follow the Australian Historical Association @AustHistAssoc.

Thank you to past AHA conference hosts and to Yvonne Perkins for the advice included here.  AHA member Yvonne Perkins has an excellent guide on the 'Top 10 conference tweeting tips'. AWHN member Ana Stevenson’s 'How can historians best use twitter?' offers some further helpful insights and advice, included with thanks Ana Stevenson.