Google Generation Panel Discussion

For LSE Teaching Day 2010 we heavily promoted the use of Twitter as a backchannel communication tool and were very pleased with the results.  Twitter updates relating to Teaching Day were identifiable by the event tag: #lsetd10


The 249 updates* were made by 29 people, 16 LSE staff & students and 13 non-LSE showing how backchannel communication can extend beyond the walls of a face-to-face event. The event had 180 delegates.

A large majority of tweets came from a small number people:

  • Only 7 people reached double figures
  • One person, @tweeduizendzes was responsible for almost 1/3 of the updates
  • Top 5 tweeters accounted for 77% of the updates

Types of Updates

Tweets can be standard updates, replies (directed at someone in response to an update), mentions (an update referencing somone else) or retweets (one person re-posting another’s earlier update).

  • Updates 63%
  • Retweets 26%
  • Replies 6%
  • Mentions 5%

I have attempted to classify the 249 tweets based on their purpose with the following results:

  • Reporting 43%
  • Commenting 29%
  • Enhancing 16%
  • Assisting 7%
  • Asking 6%

Below are some examples of updates from a wide variety of people (so the top tweeters are heavily under-represented!)


The largest group of tweets (43%) were ‘reporting’ what was being said, what people were doing & so on.

@Puplett: #lsetd10 Leape: challenge is to share good teaching practice

@jsecker: LSE Teaching day Nicola Lacey says skills should embedded in a course #lsetd10

About a quarter of the reporting updates were retweets.  So in the following example my original update was retweeted by @Dcotton11 (non-LSE) amplifying the message by forwarding it to a wider audience.

@DCotton11: RT @mattlingard: ‘Digital refugees’ have been thrown into the mix by student panelist those who don’t engage or see a benefit #lsetd10


Almost a third could be classified as commenting.  This may be a comment on what is being said or being done at the event as well as comments on other online comments.

@jenibrown: Definitely agree that there is too much PowerPoint in teaching talks conferences etc. #lsetd10

@jobadge: @mattlingard I see your point another of out staff @jon_scott does 6 mins audio summaries of key points much better for revision #lsetd10

@amber_miro: #lsetd10 really enjoyed the lecture capture debate


There were 39 updates that I have classified as ‘enhancing’ because they add some further information such as an example, a link or a photo .

@mattlingard: ASKe website that Liz just highlighted in the Feedback session #lsetd10

@dave_lew: #lsetd10 in the final session before the wine reception


‘Assisting’ tweets include announcements & answers to questions.  They mainly originated from the conference organisers.

@tweeduizendzes: RT @mattlingard: LSE staff – watch Nicola Lacey’s Teaching Day keynote online from 10am (LSE login required) #lsetd10

@lseclt: First session is the keynote by Nicola Lacey Teaching Skills through Substance starting soon in Sheikh Zayed #lsetd10


15% of the updates were questions:

@NanaChatzi: #lsetd10 how do we assess effectiveness of P-S?

@authenticdasein: most imp question of the day – what shall I wear for #lsetd10?

Promotion of the Backchannel

The use of twitter for backchannel communication at #lsetd10 was promoted by running two pre-conference workshops (slides) and a flyer in the delegate pack as well as making sure the tag was included in emails, on the website & mentioned in the welcome speech.  During the event we also used to display updates on various plasma screens at the venue.

* The statistics in this post are based solely on the 249 updates that were tweeted during the event.

Photo © Chris Fryer 2010