Chris Roos by Chris Roos

A Twitter list of Scottish Ruby Conf’s speakers and attendees. Also, a little help required.

TL,DR: If you’re going to Scottish Ruby Conf (or even if you’re not) we’d love you to subscribe to our Twitter lists of attendees and/or speakers and let us know (by email or twitter) whether they’re a useful way of observing the conference.

The Backchannel

Probably the most important and useful aspect of going to conferences and meetups is spending time with the people there. It’s often useful finding out what new things communities are working on, what they are interested in, and where they are going for dinner (or a dram).

The obvious way to feel the collective pulse of an event is via Twitter, and hashtags aren’t too bad for listening in on a conference hive-mind. That said, we have a suspicion that there could be a better option.

Our hypothesis is that hashtags are good for measuring the extremes of an event – what people love, what they hate – but that leaves a huge territory of nuance and experience that’s far more interesting than the same “damn teh wifi sux #event” sentiment repeated hundreds of times.

Where are the locals going for dinner? What other peripheral gatherings might be happening that are are of interest but are untagged? Wouldn’t it be great to tap into the more subtle thoughts and dynamics of the crowd?


Tom mentioned the Lanyrd + Twitter list idea we’ve been playing with in his notes for week 179.

It’s named Heylist and it is tasked with generating Twitter lists of conference speakers and attendees. If you look at Heylist’s lists then you’ll see that we’ve generated them for a couple of previous conferences and one upcoming conference; namely Scottish Ruby Conf 2012.

We’ve generated a list of all attendees and speakers. We have a feeling that subscribing to these lists would be a good way to get a feel for what’s happening at, and around, the conference. There are obviously other ways of achieving something similar (by following #scotruby, for example) but our feeling is that the Twitter list will give you the most comprehensive view of what’s going on.

At the moment, Heylist itself is simply a script that downloads the Scottish Ruby Conf attendees and speakers from Lanyrd and pops them into a Twitter list. We’d love your help to decide whether to develop it into something more.

How you can help

So, if you’re attending Scottish Ruby Conf, or just want to watch from the sidelines, it’d be great if you could subscribe to our list of attendees and/or speakers and let us know if you found them useful, interesting – or neither! Oh, and if there are other conferences coming up that might benefit from these lists, please let us know. You can get in touch by email or on twitter.

If you have any feedback on this article, please get in touch!

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