Setting the topics for roundtable discussions at COFES is a last-minute push on purpose. This year Twitter is getting the job done.
Every year on Saturday afternoon at COFES (the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software) attendees break into groups to discuss relevant topics in small groups. The roundtable sessions occur concurrently with 1-on-1 meetings and ad hoc gatherings.
In planning for each year’s roundtables, COFES organizer Brad Holtz, CEO of Cyon Research, seeks the input of as many COFES attendees as possible in setting the topics. He telephones many attendees (and fence-sitting potential attendees), and sends out an email blast. The topics are then announced about two weeks before the event, making sure they are fresh, topical, and relevant to all attending.
This year Holtz decided to take advantage of Twitter to gather suggestions on roundtable topics. As he told me today, “Twiiter has far outpaced email and phone calls as a source for roundtable suggestions.” Holtz credits the sense of immediacy Twitter cultivates, as well as the group interaction.
If you want to suggest a roundtable topic for COFES 2011, you can point it to @bradholtz. COFES 2011 will be April 14-17 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The official Twitter hashtag (for search) is #COFES2011.