According to the 2013 Social Media & Events Report, the amount of people who use social media channels has increased considerably by around 20% over the past year (Van Alphen-Schrade and Spiees, 2013, pp. 2). Whether this is Facebook, Twitter or even Google+, industries from all business sectors are, yet to fully realise the level of possibilities, both positive and negative, which could be generated from utilising such applications.
Further to this, Ofcom recently estimated that due to the recent popularity of smartphones, tablets and other similar handheld devices, the number of individuals accessing the internet through mobile technology rose by almost nine million to a staggering 40 million in 2012. What is more, the report highlighted a change in the type of communication these devices are being used to generate. Whilst the proportion of those who said they use traditional methods of messaging (such as SMS) remained unchanged; the percentage of those who use social networking sites increased (Ofcom, 2013).
According to MacManus (2006), “from a sample size of around 2 million US people, US Web stats company Compete concludes that social networking sites are quickly approaching the traffic level of the big portals like Google and Yahoo”.
To a certain extent, the events industry has shown acceptance of these technological changes and has responded appropriately. Events Company Blondefish, for example, was recognised by Eventia in consecutive years for its resourceful and inventive use of applying technology throughout its events (Eventia.org.uk, 2013). Blondefish explain that their aim is to: “support agencies and brands to engage audiences, amplify to social media and measure results” and continue to say that they, “can engage a live audience of a thousand people and amplify to over a million on-line at the same time” (Blondefish.com, 2013). In addition, in 2012, the UK freelancer's association, PCG, won the Trade Association Forum’s award for ‘Event of the Year’. Their social networking efforts before, during and after their event for National Freelancers Day (NFD) saw its marketing campaign “reach 6.5 million people and become a top trending story on Twitter” (Citmagazine.com, 2013).
However, whilst there are a growing number of events utilising and employing its own social media use, along with comprehensive academic background discussing the subject, this dissertation has identified a lack of knowledge within literature and in application where conferences and the social media channel Twitter are concerned.
Created in 2006, Twitter is essentially a communication tool that allows users to post and read each other’s messages, otherwise known as ‘tweets’. Tweets are limited to 140 characters creating shared information that is both specific and concise. Furthermore, as a social networking site the application gives users the opportunity to maintain connections through ‘following’. When one user follows another, that user’s...