Tweeting as a Way to Take Notes

Jim Hamilton
Nov 13, 2012

I’ve gotten in the habit of using Twitter as a way to take notes while at industry analyst events. Last month, while at Lexmark’s headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky for a two-day briefing with around 40 industry analysts, I tweeted 54 times during the corporate presentations. I alternated between keeping notes in a Word document, tweeting my notes, and watching for related activity from other analysts at the event. In this post I will share my tweets from the event and discuss the idea of using tweets for note-taking.

Twitter is by its nature ephemeral: If no one is watching when you tweet, there is little chance they will notice your tweet later. Twitter’s key benefit is its immediacy, but for me that’s also a drawback. The time of day that you tweet may determine who sees it. It may also drive some Twitter users to be repetitive, retweeting their own content to assure it’s seen by as many people as possible. In saying this I’m not debating the value of Twitter, but simply pointing out its inherent nature. If immediacy is important to you, Twitter is great. If you are looking to have a larger impact, blogs provide more substance than can be contained in 140 characters. And that’s why many of my tweets could be distilled down to “Hey, I just published a blog, here’s the link…”

I recommend using Twitter for note-taking when following a live event (such as in-person analyst briefings held by companies like Lexmark). I see tweeting as a continuum that extends from observing to note-taking, commenting, analyzing, and ultimately writing a blog or analysis. In the case of the Lexmark event I used my tweets (and the rest of my notes) to produce a collaborative analysis of Lexmark with my InfoTrends colleagues. This also brings up another point: What does an industry analyst firm like InfoTrends choose to give a way for free (via social media), and what does it decide to provide in a deeper analysis to paying clients? If you don’t want to pay for the Lexmark analysis but would like a taste of my notes, see my tweets from the event below. If you want the full analysis, there are two ways to get it:

I have some recommendations for companies that wish to encourage the use of social media at press/analyst events:

  • Provide free Internet access at the event site
    • Printed cards with the network’s name and access password should be on every seat
  • Provide a desk or tabletop and chair for each attendee so that everyone can type easily (while it’s possible to tweet on a mobile phone, I don’t recommend it for more serious note-taking)
    • Also provide access to electric outlets, particularly if the event is going to last more than an hour or two
  • Create a hashtag for your company (#companyname) or event (#companyevent2012) and make sure everyone at the event knows it (printing it on the card mentioned above is recommended)
    • The side benefit of these hashtags is that they make it easy to find others who are tweeting on your topic. It also helps connect these people, which can result in conversations, comments, and questions among observers.
  • Assign someone on your staff to observe the tweets happening during the event
    • Respond promptly if questions or issues arise
  • Follow analysts on Twitter
    • My Twitter account is @jrhinfotrends and you can find a range of InfoTrends tweeters by searching “InfoTrends” in Twitter’s people search.

If you weren’t following me on Twitter on October 11, below are my tweets from that day (they are in reverse in order so you can read them as I tweeted them). You’ll notice that I don’t capitalize when I tweet. I find it speeds up my typing a bit. I have corrected a couple of typos but otherwise the tweets are as they appeared that day. Lexmark did not create a special hashtag for the event so I used #lexmark somewhere in each tweet.

  • at the #lexmark analyst event in lexington, ky – chairman/ceo paul rooke is the first speaker
  • rooke: #lexmark manages the unmanaged (whether it’s content, processes, or print devices)
  • rooke: an efficient print infrastructure requires: discovery, design, and execution – #lexmark
  • rooke: #lexmark creates differentiated solutions (industry-specific) that capture, manage, and provide access to content & processes
  • rooke: #lexmark’s uniqueness: imaging management + process management + content management
  • rooke uses a bank’s new account application example to show how a #lexmark solution improved process cycle times to half a day from 7
  • next on the #lexmark analyst day agenda: marty canning, exec vp & pres of imaging solutions + services
  • canning: two examples of #lexmark market leadership in managed print services (mps)
  • canning: first example – 19 #lexmark mps wins over the past 24 months (global/fortune 500 companies) – all new #lexmark business
  • canning: second example – 100% mps contract renewal rate in 2011 #lexmark
  • canning: continuous process improvements result in fewer printed pages for #lexmark mps clients and more mps success for lexmark
  • canning: #lexmark print release means ‘print less anywhere’ via a universal print driver and authenticated queue
  • canning: important point about multi-function peripherals (mfp) and managed print services (mps) #lexmark
  • canning: changing a #lexmark mfp from being just an output device to an mps process enabler
  • interesting fax fact from the #lexmark analyst event: fax remains viable for legal + banking apps because of the date-time stamp
  • darren knipp ceo of perceptive software is next at the #lexmark analyst briefing
  • knipp: universal challenges: financial performance, risk management, and flexibility #lexmark
  • knipp: cost savings opportunities may occur outside of the view provided by your systems (risks may be unseen as well) #lexmark
  • knipp: process management and content management are linked together #lexmark
  • knipp: #brainware acquisition allowed #lexmark to create an intelligent ‘on-ramp’ for content management processes
  • john gamble, exec vp and cfo, is next at the #lexmark analyst event
  • gamble: strong financials: revenue is 70% annuity, solid margins, good liquidity, and a history of cash generation #lexmark
  • gamble: #lexmark has spent $500 million in acquisitions since 2010: brainware, perceptive, nolij, isys, and pallas athena
  • gamble: mps + software expected to be a $1 billion business for #lexmark in 2013
  • q+a wraps up the morning at the #lexmark analyst event — there are around 40 industry analysts here
  • looking forward to the customer presentations this afternoon at the #lexmark analyst event
  • impressive customer line-up this afternoon at the #lexmark analyst event
  • here’s who’s speaking: whirlpool, kuehne+nagel, nyc dept of ed, citizens memorial healthcare, and capgemini #lexmark
  • denni mccolm, cio of citizens memorial healthcare, discussing digitizing paper medical records #lexmark
  • mccolm: it’s hard to do a return on investment (roi) on an electronic medical records project #lexmark
  • mccolm: …but this did reduce clerical overhead, paper storage, record storage, etc. #lexmark
  • mccolm: citizens memorial did not convert old records; they only scanned active charts #lexmark
  • #lexmark says that ‘convert as touched’ is the standard for medical record conversion
  • next up at the #lexmark event: ralf baeurle, director of global end user services for #whirlpool
  • bauerle: one #whirlpool site had about 1 person per printer; now through mps they have 1,600 devices serving 18,000+ users #lexmark
  • bauerle: mps results: 64% asset reduction, 17% volume reduction, 23% cost reduction #lexmark
  • bauerle: end result is more money freed to allow #whirlpool to innovate #lexmark
  • the next #lexmark customer speaking at the analyst event is scott forest, senior director of procurement for kuehne+nagel
  • forest: added a #lexmark intelligent document workflow solution for warehouse logistics
  • forest: kuehne+nagel has since become a long-term #lexmark mps customer
  • forest: kuehne+nagel device consolidation went to 53% #lexmark
  • forest: kuehne+nagel user to device ratio went from 1.5 to 1 to 3.2 to 1 #lexmark
  • forest: kuehne+nagel eliminated 1M in abandoned print jobs and saved 15 tons of paper annually #lexmark
  • forest: kuehne+nagel would love to go paperless, but their clients don’t see the advantage (they often prefer faxing) #lexmark
  • next customer at the #lexmark analyst event: chris martino, nyc department of ed
  • martino is the manager of managed services for the nyc department of ed #lexmark
  • martino: 1.2M students, 1,700 schools, 80,000 teachers (+10K administrative employees) in nyc #lexmark
  • martino: #lexmark helped with nyc public school attendance-taking solution (and 17 other similar solutions)
  • martino: the attendance solution had a 180% roi over three years, payback in 19 months, 66% reduction in devices #lexmark
  • martino: other solutions – medical letter in 9 languages, regents testing & grading, report cards, lab answer sheets, etc. #lexmark
  • next #lexmark speaker: henk veerbeek of capgemini (the coo, also responsible for IT support in northern europe)
  • veerbeek: perceptive software user for content management #lexmark
  • veerbeek: eforms in place for many docs, intelligent e-hr & financial doc workflows, connects with sap & oracle #lexmark
  • veerbeek: also helps with offshoring of processes (to Krakow & Mumbai) because documents are digital #lexmark

So what do you think? Do these tweets hold together as an informative whole? Are there enough interesting highpoints? All I can say about that is that I hope they had some value as tweets, but I also know they were valuable to me when I went back to my notes to write an analysis. If you have had a similar experience with using tweets for note-taking I’d love to hear from you.

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