From the January 2009 issue of Entrepreneur

While you're sitting through that keynote, doodling on your notepad, the cool kids are tweeting. They're liveblogging the talking points, reporting on who's there and planning where to meet for a drink once the speech is over. So how can you join them? We chatted with Laura Fitton, aka @Pistachio, a Twitter consultant with nearly 7,000 followers, to help you connect with the influential Twitter crowd.

Before the Event:

  • As early as possible, sign up for an account and set up your mobile phone so you can text in your tweets. Start making friends, and don't go crazy with self-promotion.
  • Tweet that you'll be attending and use search.twitter.com to find and follow other attendees. To increase your chances of getting a follow back, send an @reply to introduce yourself.
  • 40%

    of SMBs plan to add customer reviews to their websites this year; 26% plan to incorporate video

    (Source: The Kelsey Group)

    Find out if there's a "hashtag," like #BlogWorld, that can help you tag and follow tweets about the event.

At the Event:

  • Don't forget your mobile. Fitton uses both SMS and Twitter's mobile site, sending tweets via text and checking them on m.twitter.com so her phone doesn't get overloaded.
  • Use Twitter as a business card replacement. Follow other Twitterers immediately by texting "follow username" to 40404 and stay connected after the event.
  • Livetweet interesting sessions, sharing your new knowledge and making notes.
  • Listen in to get instant audience feedback if you're on a panel.
  • Meet up with other "tweetpeeps." You can connect instantly via direct message, so you don't need a mobile number to text personally.
  • Don't get stressed out about reading every tweet. "Read it like you're at a cocktail party," says Fitton. "You can never listen to every conversation." But do make sure you're listening in for when the real cocktail party takes place--you don't want to miss your first "tweetup."