Conference and Event Enhancement through Social Networking and Other Web 2.0 Technologies
One of the most common things that any conference attendee or event participant says is that they wish the conversation and networking and information sharing could continue outside of the actual location. One of the biggest challenges for today's event planner is the rising cost for participants. But both realize that physically being able to attend has huge advantages beyond just participating in workshop and plenary sessions.
By creating a communications platform specific to the conference/event using free (or inexpensive) web based technologies, a Virtual Conference Hub can be created. When produced correctly, this hub allows physical attendees to network before and virtual attendees to participate as much as possible without being there. Using streaming video technologies, live information push (microblogging, etc.), as well as near live publication of photos, video, slides, and other information, those who are there virtually can feel as much a part of the excitement as those who are there in person.
Today's attendees usually bring their cell phones and laptops with them, which allows them to publish their thoughts, feelings, photos, and information into this hub, adding to the experience for everyone. They can interact with their friends and colleagues back home who weren't able to attend.
Once the event has ended and the physical attendees return home, they can participate more fully than they might have been able to with their cell phones and continue the conversation as well. They can more easily connect online with people they networked with in person, and the "conversation" then continues. The experience is no longer limited to a few days away from home; it reaches more people and continues through the year. The benefits are then clear for those attending in person; the virtual experience is not meant to make them stay home, simply extend the reach to many more individuals who aren't able to attend in person. The experience is augmented for those who can attend.
All of these web sites and technologies must be created and managed properly as well as channeled to the right audience. This requires setup before, minute by minute updates during, and then management following. This of course is integrated into both the existing online registration and communications processes as well as any further communications such as system wide e-mails and existing organization wide social networking.
You can see examples of a variety of these techniques with Facebook as the hub here, and of course as these are constantly changing the "live event" aspects might have scrolled into the past.
If you're interested in finding out more about enhancing your conference or event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|chadwick cipiti studios, inc. / email@example.com / 202.487.8324|