Social Media in Events Video from Event Camp

I created this video as a thought starter for the “Integrating Social Media in Events” Fishbowl discussion that I led at Event Camp. Due to popular demand, I have been asked to share this video with you. I hope that you enjoy it!

[wpvideo 7YeVtUoW]


This video was created using Apple Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint). It is really a combination of ideas and statistics from these blog posts:

10 Ways Social Media Will Transform Events in 2010

>  Are Your Events Haunted By The Blackberry Prayer?

>  Do You Allocate Enough Time For Interaction?

The Transformation Begins

Right now the digital world and face-to-face worlds are colliding. I think this collision will create new opportunities for events. As attendees become more comfortable with these two way experiences in their own lives – they are going to start demanding similar experiences from you. Maybe they already are?

If you have experienced any interesting applications of Social Media or Event Technology during an event – please share your stories. I would love to hear what you think is working or not working in your events.

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Lessons in Engaging Attendees from Event Camp NYC 2010

On Saturday, the self-organized twitter group #eventprofs organized its first conference. The event was called Event Camp and was centered around Social Media in Events. This was supposed to be an unconference – but was really more of a tribal meeting in my mind. [See Mike McCurry’s post for more] You see, this group recognizes each other’s unique talents and uses those as an opportunity to learn from each other and work together.

Here are some lessons from Event Camp on engaging attendees that I hope will help you.

Pre-Event Community

Event Camp created an event community around the event with the Omnipress Conference 2.0 solution. This turned out to be helpful for many attendees. I noticed that many would received the daily digest and then add their ideas or comments. Three things came out of the community: (1) High Awareness in the Hybrid Events Session and Fishbowl Sessions, because these sessions were discussed on the conference community. (2) Informal Dinners and Social Gatherings were arranged by the attendees. (3) Several attendees were invited to share and shared their reasons for attending with the larger audience.

[Read Jenise Fryatt’s post on How Social Media Creates a Need For Attendees To Meet Face2Face for another excellent perspective.]

Big Blue Buffalo Hats

The Social Collective has an interesting solution called CrowdCampaign that was used by the attendees to choose some swag that the event staff had to wear. Fortunately, the organizers were very gracious in purchasing and wearing the Big Blue Buffalo Hats. However, there is a second use of CrowdCampaign happening right now. The attendees are trying to decide on their number one takeaway. The list is starting to get really interesting. [crowd campaign list of takeaways]

Reinforcing Messages with Multiple Channels

The backchannel was projected on screens throughout the venue – but most people had one eye on the laptop or iphone and another eye on the speaker. Personally, I found it really helpful to be able to scroll through the backchannel messages on my new iphone. Being able to see these same messages delivered in a second medium helped reinforce some key points for me. (Not to mention that there is a transcript of tweets that I have used to go back and review the event.) While, I recognized that this helped reinforce the messages to me – it was Ray Hansen of IML that actually pointed this out. Thanks Ray.

Including More People

Thanks to Mike McAllen of Grass Shack Events & Media and the team at Core Staging this event had a hybrid component. The main plenary hall of the conference was being broadcast on Livestream and secondary sessions were recorded. As an attendee, I found it really engaging to get input, ideas and questions from these virtual attendees. Equally important, we made sure to wave once or twice to our friends at home too. I think this was a nice touch.

[Read Emilie Barta’s post – Live and Virtual Events Compliment Each Other, Not COMPETE with Each Other for more]

Bridging the Virtual And Face-to-Face Audience

This community was active on the twitter backchannel, making comments asking questions, etc. Mike McCurry was an excellent conduit between the face-to-face audience and the virtual attendees. He made sure that any questions the virtual audience had were integrated into the face-to-face discussion. This is a key role to making sure that their voices were heard, too. [Read Christina Stalling’s post on some of her backchannel learnings]

Engaging Virtual Attendees During Breaks

Breaks can be quite boring for virtual attendees that are watching the room be reset or attendees getting coffee.  So, it was very cool to see Emilie Barta (a professional tradeshow presenter) interviewing speakers and attendees during the break. I think this is a low effort – high return way to enhance the virtual attendee’s experience.

Let’s Jump into the Fishbowl

My session was a collaborative session that used the fishbowl format. In this session, I turned the attendees into the experts and took the “guide on the side” role. This allowed us to do more learning from each other – rather than have me go through 6400 slides in 40 minutes. Since, I am the host of the Interactive Meeting Technology Blog – I would have let all of you readers down if my session didn’t have an interactive component.

[Read Lara McCulloch-Carter’s post – Fishbowl session through the eyes of the virtual attendee for some discussion and feedback on my session]

User-Generated Content

Event Camp was loaded with User-Generated content. There was a “bloggers row” type space that was designed to make life easy for people using computers during the sessions. So far – there are atleast 10 blog posts on learnings and ideas created from the event. There will probably be several more. Also, there were dozens of photos taken from the attendees. Thanks to Social Media guru – David Berkowitz – the iphone application Cat Paint became the big hit of Event Camp. Cat Paint allows you to drop cats onto iphone photos before sending them out over twitter. Some attendees made sure that we all got a good laugh out this. Here is a picture of me with a cat on my shoulder. (Personally, I think the applications of this tool in terms of a sponsorable item would be amazing. take out the cat and insert – your event logo or product name.)

Bottom Line

Event Camp evolved out of an online community of individuals that has a passion for Social Media in Events. From the speakers to the attendees to the sessions this event was one of the most comprehensive and complete learning laboratories on Social Media in Events.

Ok – Event Campers – what else would you add?

(PS: Eventprofs recently celebrated its first anniversary on 9 February 2010 )

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Is Your Event Technology Vendor Prepared for the Moment of Truth?

Are you ready to embrace Attendee 2.0? Maybe you are considering a combination of mobile phone applications applications, backchannels, hand-held devices, mobile texting or social media tools for your next event.

While any of these technologies – if implemented correctly – will be sure to enhance the event experience, you need to be prepared for the down side. What happens if the technology fails?

This is the situation that I like to call the Moment of Truth. The purpose of this post is to help you identify event technology vendors that are prepared for the Moment of Truth.

What is the Moment of Truth?

To me, the Moment of Truth is that point (or points) in your event where the technology MUST work. It could be a voting session, or on-demand badge printing or the backchannel or whatever. While 95% of the time these event technologies will work – there are going to be situations when they fail for one reason or another. It is in these moments that you find out what type of vendor partners you have on your team.

In my opinion, one of the differences between an exceptional vendor and a bad vendor are how they handle these situations. Good vendors have mitigation strategies and solutions. They also have battle scars. Bad or New vendors don’t know what they don’t know.

Seek Solutions First – Blame Later

One of the challenges for event organizers is that there could be several causes for the technology failure. It could be the software, the hardware, the wifi network, power failure, the leaky roof, etc. When there are several vendors involved in the service delivery – you don’t have “one neck to ring.”  As a result, some vendors take this opportunity to play the blame game. “Wasn’t me,” they say.

In these moments, you need vendors that are willing to work together to solve problems. There will be plenty of time to assign blame and fight over the “who done it” after the event.

How Can You Tell If Your Vendor Is Prepared?

You can uncover the preparation and preparedness by interviewing prospective vendors. Here are some things that you might want to discuss:

  1. What is their risk mitigation plan? Ultimately, you don’t want things to fail. So, of course, they should test the technology setup to make sure that things work correctly. But, you also want them to check things again before the moment of truth to make sure that nothing has changed unexpectedly. If they are not doing this – they should. Are there other steps that they can take to reduce the risk of failure?
  2. What is their backup plan when things don’t go as planned? You want to find out if the backup plan is multi-dimensional and layered. Do they have a checklist of things to consider? Do they have support resources to call – in case of emergency? Do they have backup plans for backup plans? It is a red flag if they don’t know what you are talking about.
  3. How do they react when things fail onsite? Ask them for an example. Listen closely for what happened, the steps that they took and how they resolved the situation. Did they take the lead in diagnosing solutions? Did they work with others in a collaborative way? Don’t trust the salesperson who says “our stuff doesn’t fail.” He is either an idiot, lying or new. Ask to speak with someone else or find another vendor.
  4. Are the onsite staff prepared and capable of handling these situations? The person you are speaking with might be a sales or marketing type that does not go on-site. Find out about the experience level of the on-site teams. Are they trained? Do they have support manuals? Do they have 1st line and 2nd line support at the main office for unusual problems?
  5. Can the vendor describe a time where their technology failed (or nearly failed) and how did they recover?  Here you want to hear an example of how they recovered from a disaster or prevented one from occurring. Be sure to find out how they have changed their technology or onsite processes to prevent these situations (or minimize the risk of these situations) from occurring in the future?

Bottom Line

Most of the time your Attendee 2.0 experiences are going to work as planned. However, when things go wrong, you want to make sure that you have an experienced wingman (someone with battle scars). Some of these questions above will help you filter out the good, experienced vendors from the bad vendors.

Based on your experiences – what would you add? Or is there anything above that needs further explanation?

Photo Credit: Rabblefish
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iPad: It Just Works…But Will It Work For Events?

Today, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s latest product the iPad. For most of us “shiny object people” this was a much anticipated announcement.


Well – Apple products have been known to change the way that we interact with technology and experience life. Look at the iPhone, the iTouch, the itunes store and app store. These things have changed the way that hundreds of millions of people experience technology.

Also as was said many times today by Steve Jobs: It just works. When it comes to technology – everyone likes technology that just works.

What is so cool about the new iPad? Have a look for yourself. Here is a short video from Apple that explains everything.


Will It Work For Events?

Today, at events, we already have event applications built around laptops, mobile phones and purpose built devices. What if anything would the iPad be good for at an event?

Here are some event applications that popped into my head while watching the live announcement:

  • Larger Screen = bigger fonts = easier readability for all types of attendees (like baby boomers). This means that you could create e-versions of your Show Daily, conference guide and exhibitor guides. This would make it very easy to make an event paperless AND preserve your sponsorship revenue.
  • Incorporating Multimedia. There will be a clear opportunity to include multiple photos and video clips from the show floor in the e-versions of the Show Daily. Electronic Exhibitor guides could contain video demonstrations of products. Electronic Conference binders could contain speaker videos. The kicker? If you are recording sessions these sessions could be setup online and available for viewing/downloading on the iPad right away.
  • Interactive Demos. Today – interactive demos can be a challenge to run on the show floor. I think that we will see more and more interactive marketing companies creating demos, games, quizes, etc that get attendees engaged on the show floor (or in the streeet). These apps will help companies capture new leads, qualify them, and feed them into the CRM system right on the show floor. In my opinion, the iPad – as a hybrid of the iphone and the laptop – will be perfect for this type of application.
  • Agendas, One-to-One Appointments, and Personalized Agendas. Did you see the new calendar function? I think that someone will come up with an application for the iPad that creates personalized agendas for attendees, schedules appointments, etc. While the iPad frontend needs to be easy to use – the database, scheduling engine and reporting will be a powerful part of this solution.
  • Corporate Backchannel. With the powerful user interface and portability, I could see someone creating a corporate backchannel application that runs on the iPad. While any device could be used to enter comments into the backchannel – the iPad advantage will be in viewing all of the other comments on the backchannel and privacy. Corporates don’t want their internal discussions tweeted to everyone.
  • Speaker Q&A. I can see iPads sprinkled across the roundtables in a large conference room. Attendees can use them to enter questions for speakers, see what others asked, and maybe even rate/rank them. How cool would it be to rate questions for the CEO? Awesome!
  • Way-Finding. I can see people using the iPad GPS to figure out the best route to their next appointment on the show room floor or to another part of the center or to the off-site event this evening. (Note: GPS may not be accurate enough to find most 3X3 meter booths inside of a hall.)
  • Sponsorship.  There was a lot of screen real-estate for including innovative sponsorships – beyond banners. I am sure we will see some innovative digital sponsorship applications emerge.

A Word of Caution

  • Venue Wifi Sucks. enough said.
  • Devices For Each Person. For the situations where each attendee needs a device – IMO the purpose built device will be a better solution than a mobile phone or iPad type product. Why? The purpose built devices have return-me-now alarms. They have higher adoption rates. They come with private networks. Usually…they come with trained staff that know how to manage the technology across many different user types.

Bottom Line

The iPad is a new platform that will change the way that we experience events. Not necessarily – because of the ways that I suggested above.  I think the iPad’s biggest impact on events will come from showing attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and event organizers a new way to use technology and experience life.  As people get more comfortable with these new technology experiences they will start demanding similar types of experiences from their face-to-face events.

So – those are my first impressions. What do you think?

It just works….But will it work for events?

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43 Social Media Tips, Tricks, Big Ideas & Real World Examples for Meetings & Events

When it comes to Social Media – all of us are learning. Some of us faster than others. You should be able to benefit from the successes, failures and experiments of other event professionals.

Think of this list as a “social media launching pad” to get your event’s social media program off the ground in a hurry. If you use all of the resources here – then you will find yourself inside a collaborative community of event professionals that are leading the events industry into the world of social media.

The list is loosely organized by category. Though, some articles could belong to several categories.

Start Here

As a starting point, watch this video of David Meerman Scott talking about Social Media in Events to the CMP Conclave in San Antonio, Texas last summer.


Resources & Communities of Practice

1.  Free Social Media in Events ebook. Three excerpts from this ebook. that you might find interesting:

2.  EventProfs Twitter Group: Self-organized community of Event Professionals

3.  Engage365 (Social Media for Events Community)

4.  Time to Shake Events Up

5.  Three Perspectives for Developing a Social Media Strategy for Events

Planning Your Event

6. Social Media For Events: 101 (Link to 10 Social Media in Events Articles)

7.  Mashable’s Guide to Using Social Media in Events

8.  Meeting and Event Planning with Social Media

9.  Why Event Managers Should be Using Social Media

Promoting Your Event

10. Using Social Media To Promote Events

11. 8 ways to use MySpace for Events

12. 13 Ways Linked Supports Event Marketing

13. 5 Powerful ideas for using Facebook for Your Events

14. Social Media Amplifies Event Marketing

15. Why You Need Bloggers and Tweeters at Your Next Event

16. Three Reasons to have your Presenters Create Videos to Promote Their Sesssion

17. Why User-Generated Content is Good for Meetings & Events

Social Media Marketing Guide by Anne Thornley-Brown

18. Social Media Marketing Strategies for Event Planners – Part 1

19. Social Media Marketing for Event Planners – Part 2: RSS Feeds & More About Blogs

20. Social Media Marketing Tools for Event Planners – Part 3: Twitter & Facebook

Social Networking & Community Building

21. Pre-Event Community Building (Excellent Resource)

22. Using Twitter to Build a Community Around Your Event

23. 14 Online eCommunity Options For Your Next Annual Meeting

24. How To Make Your Event’s Social Network Easy to Join

25. How To Increase Social Media (and technology) Adoption

Backchannel and Twitter

26. 10 Reasons Why Your Conference Should Use a Backchannel

27. Bringing Twitter’s Backchannel to the Frontchannel

28. Tips for Using Twitter During Presentations

29. Tweeting At Conferences And Events: The Good, The Better, The Best

30. 5 Ways to Visualize Twitter at Events

31. 8 Tips for Monitoring the Backchannel during your presentation

Other Useful Resources

32. Using Social Media for Meetings and Events

33. Role of Social Media in Future Events?

34. Does Social Media Feel Like an Awkward Embrace

35. Using Social Media To Listen To Your Conference Attendees

36. Social Media in Events Survey

37. Social Media Revenue Streams for Trade Shows and Conferences

38. Technology Plans for 3 Leading Organizations

39. Benchmarking Event-Driven Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns

40. See how welders use Twitter at Tradeshows

41. User Generated Content & Conferences: Shoot the Reaction

42. 6 Must Read Posts about the ROI of Social Media

43. Best Use of Twitter at Conferences: Change the Context


I am not omniscient and I didn’t stay the night in a Holiday Inn Express.  So, I probably missed some useful resources – like like your killer blog post or awesome online magazine article. Please accept my apology and use the comments section to add it to the list.

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Are Your Events Distributing Happiness?

Have you heard about Coca-Cola’s Happiness Machine?

Coke planted a vending machine inside the Student Union of a US university that has magical powers. For some unsuspecting people it distributes an unusual amount of coke and other items (pizza, etc.). No matter what it dispenses – it is creating smiles and happiness. You should watch the video and see for yourself.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.915554&w=425&h=350&]

(FYI – Video might take a minute to load)

What does this mean for events?

In my post Who Else Wants to Have Fun at Events – I shared two examples of how you can use technology and “Fun” to change experiences and change behavior.

This Coke video is another example of how we can combine technology and “Fun” to into our event experiences. In this case, happiness is distributed someplace where people least expect it – from a vending machine.

Bottom Line

Regardless of how you choose to engage attendees (with technology or otherwise) – ask yourself this question: Are you creating smiles and distributing happiness?

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How to Increase Social Media (and Technology) Adoption at Events

In my opinion, some event organizers are throwing technology at their events in the same way that the zookeeper throws a big chunk of raw meat to the lions. They lob it out there on the floor, stand back and see what happens.

While the lion might jump on that piece of meat without batting an eye, most attendees are not jumping on social media and event technology without a little help.

So, how do you get more attendees to start using these interactive and social technologies? I will start the discussion with some suggestions based on my experience. I hope that you will add your ideas in the comments below.

1. Show Attendees the WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

Most events are packed with activities. If you are going to ask attendees to use (or try) a new technology tool, be sure that they (A) know about it and (B) understand how they will benefit from it. Otherwise, with so much going on, they may overlook the new tool.

2. Show Attendees How To Use the Tech Tools.

Attendees start from different points on the technology learning curve. Some will arrive as power-tweeters, while others will still be struggling with email. Also, they have different learning styles. If you want attendees to use the tools, you need to provide various forms of support. Here are some things that we did at Spotme to help attendees feel comfortable with the new technology:

> Each attendee received a small instruction card that included some of the “how to” basics at registration.

> Provide a short 5 minute “how to” presentation at the beginning of the event. (Many times this included the WIIFM).

> Provide personalized demonstrations of the tools (for those that want it).

> Provide a help desk where attendees can get personalized demonstrations and answers to individual questions. (If you want to be “2010” – call it a genius bar.)

> Provide Just-in-Time instructions as required. This was very effective for voting, speaker Q&A or other tools that were not used in every session.

3. Keep the Tech Tools Simple.

Since events are so short, you only have a few minutes to teach attendees how to use your tech tools and help them become proficient at it. The easier it is for attendees to learn how to use the tools on site – the more they will use it.  When considering different options – look for simple, easy to use interfaces.

4. Consider How Attendees will Participate.

Not all attendees will use the technology equally – even after they know how to use the tools. That’s ok. We don’t all like to do the same things. You can increase your chances of success by learning about your attendee’s social media engagement preferences. Do they like to create content, critique it, etc? The Groundswell’s social technographs profile tool can help you.

Bottom Line

Unlike the lion with a piece of meat, chances are good that most of your attendees will need a little help learning to use the new technology at your events.  Don’t let this discourage you – there are some simple steps that you can take to help them learn to use the tools and have a great event experience.

Ok, your turn. What would you add to this list?

Image Credit: 2minutes
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Seven Event Insights from the Frozen Tundra

Last week, I was in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis talking with people about meeting design and event technology. The events people there are creative, innovative and energizing.

In the discussions, we pushed and pulled on the future of event technology in meetings and events. We talked about technology adoption, the future of face to face, the role of Social Media, the backchannel madness, increasing social network adoption, fears with virtual events and much more.

Here are some of the things that captured my attention from these conversations:

  1. Should you seriously consider a paperless event? The average age of people that prefer digital materials over paper based materials is now 50. It makes me wonder how long it will take before we start to see a major push to paperless events. Any ideas?
  2. Generational communication. An event organizer from Augsburg College told me that the college was sending event invitations to students through Facebook, because students are not using email. How are you communicating with the different generations attending your events?
  3. Many events are not using the Audience Response System (ARS) tools effectively. ARS is a powerful communication and engagement tool. However, I continue to hear that event organizers are not maximizing the potential of this powerful tool. I think that we need more people to share their ARS success stories. What do you think?
  4. There is still a strong fear about virtual events. Despite efforts to make event organizers feel comfortable that virtual events are complimentary to face-to-face events, many event organizers are either afraid of virtual events or think that it is a temporary thing.  It seems like there is still a lot of work to do here.
  5. Corporate events need your help to be more innovative.  Many corporate events are cookie cutter because marketers and corporate staff count on us to help them understand what’s new and possible.  We need to challenge ourselves to make sure that we are helping marketers see what is new and possible.
  6. Interactive Hybrid Meetings. By allowing virtual and face-to-face attendees to vote, ask questions or submit ideas regardless of their location, IML has a new service that helps event organizers build bridges between the virtual audience and the face-to-face audience in hybrid events (or regional telepresence events).  I think we are going to see more event tech solutions like this emerge on the marketplace – if they are not here already.
  7. Tradeshow lead capture still needs innovation. It has been awhile since I have been to a US tradeshow. The last time I attended one, I thought the lead capture process was out-of-date and in need of innovation.  The team at Living TradeShow have created a super-simple FOB that simplifies lead exchange, puts the power to exchange leads into the hand of the attendee, gives exhibitors better data and makes the whole process paperless.

Bottom Line

The world around us is creating new ways for us to communicate and collaborate. But it’s messy. There is a lot of trial and error. Best practices are still emerging.  When you solve one problem – two new problems can emerge.  For people that are used to control this can be scary stuff.

What do you make of these observations? Is there anything interesting that jumps out at you?

Note: This Blog Post was written and uploaded in draft form while I was on an airplane. Though the Wifi was terrible and I had to finish it after I landed.
Photo Credit: scelis
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What if You Could Google the Minds of Your Attendees

What if you could ask 500 attendees a question and receive relevant, prioritized responses in a matter of seconds? Just like on Google.

What would you ask?

Would you ask attendees your most pressing questions? Would you ask them for ideas? Would you ask them to help you prioritize objectives? Would you ask them to help you solve problems? Would you show them your vision for the future and ask them to poke holes in it? Would you ask them to help you make decisions? Would you ask them what they learned? Would you ask them to calculate ROI?

@samueljsmith twitter follwers

How would it work?

I see it working like this: You give attendees a problem, then in a mili-second they give you thousands of relevant, categorized and useful responses. Sometimes this will be based on life experiences. Other times it could be from company knowledge.

We can get a similar result when we use group collaboration technology and large group methods at meetings. You present a question, situation or problem to the audience. They reflect on it for a few moments and discuss in small groups. Then attendees enter their ideas, comments or opinions into a computer or mobile device. In some cases, a small group may categorize the responses. In other cases, the audience will do this step, too. Then,  the audience will rank and prioritize the categorized results. At the end, there is a massive list of useful ideas (or whatever you are seeking) that is categorized and prioritized.

A Word of Caution

Being able to google your attendees will not mean that you get perfect results. I imagine that you would still have some of the same challenges that you face with the Google search engine today:

  1. You may still need to be wary of advertisements that are disguised as meaningful results.
  2. You may still have to ask the same question several different ways to get the best results.
  3. You will still need to learn which keywords trigger the best results and which don’t.

Bottom Line

If you could google the minds of your attendees would you do it?  What would you ask?  How would attendees be able to help you that are unimaginable today?

Image Credit: Samuel J. Smith & profile pictures of his Twitter followers
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5 Questions with Event Industry Crowdsourcer Mike McCurry

Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to get to know Mike McCurry through Social Media. I read his blog – McCurry’s Corner (you should too) and we both are part of the self organized Twitter group – #eventprofs.

We have never met face to face. I expect that will change one day.

One thing that I can tell you about Mike – he is a crowdsourcer. Mike uses his social network to collaborate on projects. Capturing an insight here, collecting a photo there, Mike leverages the talents of his friends to breathe life into his ideas.

These projects have included articles on MPI’s WEC Opening Session in Salt Lake City and the ASAE Conference in Toronto (Day 1 & Day 2).

Most recently, Mike used Google Wave to interview several industry professionals to get their persepective on 2010. What was supposed to be 1 blog post – snowballed into an avalanche of insights – and became 5 blog posts. Feel free to read them below:

  1. What were the successes of 2009 in the Meetings and Events Business?
  2. What’s the priority business issue to focus on in 2010?
  3. What is the Next Hot Social Media Tool?
  4. What is the role of social media in events?
  5. What is the Future of Printed Media?

Mike McCurry - Author of McCurry's Corner

Time to Turn the Tables

Now, I am turning the tables on Mike. I am using Google Wave to ask him some questions about this impressive crowdsourcing project:

1. Mike – where did you get the idea to use Google Wave and crowdsource these blog posts?

Mike>> Sam, I had been toying with the idea, for some time, to do an “interview style” blog posting but due to other job responsibilities kept putting it off because there was no easy way to accomplish that. Then in November I discovered Google Wave, started experimenting with the application and the light bulb came on. I realized this would be a perfect platform for this type of collaborative work. There you have it.. the rest is history!

2. What was going through your mind when everyone started answering the questions? Did you expect this type of reaction?

Mike>> Well, because Google Wave is so new, and so different from pretty much any other web 2.0 application, I expected it might take a while to get the people I wanted to interview on-board. One of the biggest frustrations was of course that Google is letting people in only on an invitation basis. Since very few of the people I wanted to include in my interview were on Google Wave yet, my solution was to leverage Twitter to monitor available invitations. I did this by creating a search column in Tweetdeck with the keywords “google wave.”

Since Google Wave has been a trending topic on Twitter for some time I knew there would be a large volume of tweets, which there were. As I discovered tweets from ppl offering invitations I responded to them one-by-one and then collected the invitations in a “pool.” My next step was to invite my Social Media friends to join Google wave one by one.

After joining Google Wave my colleagues began responding to the questions. I soon realized, by the strong response, Google Wave was a natural fit for this type of project. The results were, as you know, terrific. I really did not expect things would come together as quickly as they did!

3.  As a participant in this process, I had a lot of fun thinking through the questions and reading everyone’s responses. What kind of feedback did you get from other participants?

Mike>> The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from colleagues that participated in the collaboration. They all unanimously believe it was an interesting and productive experience.

One constructive comment, made by Jeff Hurt, which I agree with, is some blog readers may have been disappointed they were not given the opportunity to participate in the wave as well. I have not received any feedback to that effect, but it might be an issue. I do know I received very few “comments” posted on the blog, thus far, from readers. That has me confused, as I expected there would be a lot of conversation. Maybe it is something I am doing wrong on the marketing side… not sure.

I would be open to any suggestions from other interested users regarding this subject.

4. Do you have any advice for event organizers, speakers or subject matter experts that are interested in using Google Wave to tap into the ideas of their audience?

Mike>> Yes I do. I do not believe Google Wave is stable enough yet for use in events to any large degree. One of its major shortcomings is it’s “lagginess.” That is a problem that must be resolved before this application can be used effectively for any large collaboration project. There are some real challenges with some of the functionality, such as, for example, no undo button. This application is in “preview release” right now so it would be expected there would be bugs in it. These will be resolved I am sure, before the Wave is released to the public.

Also, since it is not open to the public yet… there is a very limited audience that can actually use it. This is obviously a problem in the context of events.

5. Based on this experience where and how do you see Google Wave being incorporated into events?

Mike>> I personally believe there is great potential for this application to be incorporated into events. For Starters It could be an alternative to Twitter as a conversation tool to enhance meetings. Blips in Google Wave are very similar to Tweets, except they can be modified, and collaborated with. That is exciting.

Brainstorming sessions, Think Tanks, Q&A, Roundtable discussions are all meeting formats where a Google Wave would be an enhancer. For an “un-conference” where you design “crowdsoureced” content on-the-fly this application would be a perfect fit. With the ability to embed video, graphics, photos and audio components it could also serve as presentation software.

The possibilities are endless…

Bottom Line

Mike has demonstrated that using Social Media and Social Networks you can tap into the insights of the audience. Also, he has demonstrated that you can do it anytime or anyplace – before, during or after your event.

Attendees have never been smarter or more connected than they are today.  What are you doing to tap into their ideas and insights?

Note: Photo is Courtesy of Mike McCurry.
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