Subtitle: How to save your money, not get the hangover from hell, and learn lots of new things by NOT attending a conference.

This is an enormously belated post. A4u expo in London was over 2 weeks ago, and I’ve only just got round to writing this up. Second blog post in, and I’m already subject to bloggers block

One of the best things about leaving my regular life living in an Arcadian idyll in Wales has been the opportunity to meet up with my online SEO chums/acquaintances in the flesh – first at ThinkVisibility, then the Search Pro networking event. Looking forward to London SEO next week, put it in your diary if you haven’t already!

ThinkVisibility popped my SEO conference cherry, and gave me the bug for attending conferences and seminars. However, even though geographically I’m much closer to the action, budget and time constraints mean that I can’t get to most of them.

We all get conference envy from time to time…

With a4u expo in London just gone, and the SEOMoz/Distilled Pro Seminar coming up next week I thought I’d jot down my musings regarding how I plan to use twitter to live vicariously through other people’s SEO conference pleasures…

  • Find out who is going – a quick tweet out should suffice. This will fuel your jealousy, but also give you a good idea of who to watch for live tweets, and links to awesome posts. If you’re following people that are clever and savvy, you can expect them to ‘filter’ out any noise and misinformation and fngers crossed they’ll be tweeting and blogging the shizzle! Also, if you see that person on a day to day basis, you can put their brain through a blender when you see them:

  • Check out who is speaking, and on what. If you were there, which seminar would you absolutely HAVE to attend? If you can, find someone who’ll be there, and just enjoy their ‘key learnings’ as they tweet away:

  • Look out for tweets from the speakers, seems like most of them were happy to post their slides from a4u expo pretty much straight away. That way you can download the slide deck, get yourself a cuppa, and enjoy at your leisure.
  • Remember, even if you’re there you cant get to all of them (unless you’ve mastered the art of bilocation)…

  • You can get some absolute gems by following people’s tweets, a limited number of characters requires the writer to be succinct – the tweets below come from @kevgibbo’s Top 25 Tweets from a4u expo London

  • Find out who has plans to liveblog, or get blog posts up as quickly as possible.

  • Follow the hashtag associated with the event, and whilst you’re at it check to see if there are any variations on it. At a4u London most people were tweeting with #a4uexpo, but some early tweets about the London event used just #a4u

  • Spare yourself the hangover. After parties are pretty popular by all accounts, and a4u appears to offer a corker. Being more a ‘hot milk, cocoa, slippers, and bed by 10’ type of person I follow the party action via live tweets, and then feel smug the next morning when people are nursing their heads and quietly sickburping during the 2nd day seminars…

A4u expo was over 2 weeks ago now, but the #a4uexpo hashtag is still getting plenty of action, with belated blog posts going up and plenty of RT action on some of the better blog posts.

There was some absolutely fantastic coverage of the a4u expo event, I won’t try and re create a full list here but some of the best ones I’ve seen are the very detailed coverage of some of the individual seminars on these blogs;

So – I’m not going to make it to the Pro seminar next week, but I’m already thinking about how to follow (as far as poss, no doubt the attendants will be sworn to secrecy and have to take part in masonic style handshaking and knee bearing) the action I’m missing:

Did I miss anything out? Is there anything else that you do to get the most out of conferences you can’t attend? Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments, whichever you prefer 🙂