Tools to Stay Social during #swct

In a matter of weeks, Social Web Week has gone from a crazy idea bounced around by a few social media enthusiasts gathering at various locations in New Haven to a major weeklong event in Connecticut. How did this happen? Well, core to the success has been using social media as part of the organizing. Now the questions becomes, how successful will the various events be. The answer probably depends on how much participants use social media throughout the week.

Central to this will be the use of hashtags on Twitter. Twitter provides easy ways to send short messages for others to read. Some people send their twitter messages from Twitter’s website. Others use cellphones or other websites to send out their messages.

To make it easier to find messages on twitter, often people tag messages with a special word or acronym. Typically, they put a hashmark (#), sometimes called a pound sign, at the beginning of the tag to make it standout; hence the word hashtag.

Currently, people are using the hashtag #swct to tag their messages about Social Web Week. If you look at the Social Web Week website, you’ll see the most recent messages tagged with #swct showing up in the right hand column.

There are lots of other tools and sites that people use to organize the tweets they are looking at, especially in terms of hashtags. Some people like Tweetdeck or Peoplebrowsr. I like to use TweetChat. It provides a nice way to see recent tweets with a specific hashtag, as well as send messages to Twitter with the hashtag already built in. Another tool that I like to use is CoverItLive. This allows you to add a live discussion on your blog. In the options, you can configure CoverItLive to include messages from Twitter with specific hashtags.

There is also What the Hashtag? which provides a description of the hashtag, as well as various statistics and related hashtags. Hashtags.org provides a similar history of twitter messages with hashtags and statistics about these messages.

Foursquare is another tool that Social Web Week participants are likely to use. You can use Foursquare to ‘check-in’ at various venues that are participating in Social Web Week. When you check in, you have the opportunity to send a message to Twitter about checking in. If you use Foursquare during Social Web Week, please consider putting the #swct hashtag in your message to Twitter. You can also find out who else has checked in at the same venue.

Some people will send messages to Facebook during Social Web week and others will send pictures and videos to Flickr, YouTube and other sites. You can also use tags on these sites. However, tags can be used by anyone for any purpose, and the SWCT tag on Flickr has been used for some other purposes.

tagal.us is a interesting site that combines messages with Twitter Hashtags, with photographs on Flickr and YouTube videos that are similarly tagged. It provides another interesting way to glimpse what is going on.

Another way for people to use social media during Social Web Week is to use QIK. QIK is an easy way to stream videos from your cellphone. Other people like to stream using Ustream or Livestream. Personally, I’ve had the best luck with QIK. You can also have QIK send messages to Twitter including the #swct hashtag.

So, as you head out to Social Web Week in Connecticut, please, consider sending messages to Twitter with the #swct hashtag, as well as sending pictures and videos, and perhaps even live streaming portions. Hopefully, I will get a chance to gather and digest some of the messages into a broader narrative about Social Web Week.