Big thanks to Mike McAllen for having me on the 164th episode of the Meetings Podcast. You can listen to it live right here (turn your speakers on so your coworkers can hear):
Was it a controversial episode? You bet.
I predicted the demise of exhibition halls, pre-planned content for sessions, and sales people. What’s left of the conference industry after you take all that away? Just networking and attendee generated content–how self serving of me!
Head over to the Meetings Podcast and let Mike know what you think.
When Sarah Milstein and I were putting together the Web2Open at Web 2.0 Expo SF, we invented a new kind of session based on the concept of speed dating. We put together five tables of attendees and invited five luminaries to give a short Q&A with each table, rotating every few minutes. As she describes, it was definitely the highlight of the conference for us.
Now Nate Westheimer, who has taken on the Web2Open duties for NY, is bringing it back! If you’re in NYC on September 18th, then this is session you need to go to.
More on the Web2Open directly from Nate.
When we go on a blogging hiatus it’s usually because we’re doing a lot of client work. It’s been 20 days since our last post and that’s exactly what’s happened here. We’re busy! Thank you so much to all our wonderful customers for making this the case. The first five months of 2008 have seen a steady stream of records and growth for both our business and our conferences.
So what’s next? We have two goals.
#1. We will improve our self-service product and we have an announcement about that tomorrow.
#2. Everything about the conference/meeting/event social experience is going to get better. We’ve made it much easier for people to meet. We’re going to make it even easier. And along the way we’re going to bring in some of the other social experiences at the conference, helping people share ideas and amplifying the conversation so that it reaches people who weren’t able to attend.
I keep running across stories about how Web2.0 is effecting conferences.
Sometimes people are talking about how technology can help you run a better conference. David Spark’s How to Web2.0 Enable Your Live Event was the first summary that I saw. It’s still the best. But I also just ran across this academic paper, Conference Connections: Rewiring the Circuit. It’s a longer read but full of good info. This is the area CrowdVine is in–we want to use our software to make your conference better.
Then there’s articles about the social changes. These tools can become echo chambers for strong opinions. Here’s the worst of it, witch-hunt for Sarah Lacy. She did a mediocre interview with an extremely hard to interview CEO. In the old days people would have gotten bored and tuned out. Instead they started posting complaints to twitter, which caused a competition for who could make the most acerbic comment.
Web2.0 has also boosted the popularity of user generated content in places that aren’t using any computer technology, most notably unconferences. Unconferences are going so main stream that they now run along side normal conference tracks. MPI, an organization for meeting professionals, ran an unconference inside of their recent MeetDifferent conference. Web2.0 Expo has run unconferences at each of their last two expos and again at their Expo in April (I’m co-organizing that unconference).
Even with the occasional blow-up, this trend is good. Main stream conference content is competing with the web. Why are attendees going to come sit in a session at your conference when they can get the same information for free on the web? You have to adapt. You have to go Conference 2.0. Unconference sections let attendees get up-to-date and often extremely niche info that isn’t available anywhere else. And the social tools help people meet face-to-face. There’s no substitute for dealing with people in-person. That’s the real reason conferences are so valuable.