E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Gotta Share! – The Ultimate Conference Event Experience

Gran Canaria - Risco Blanco & Santa Lucia in the WinterYesterday, my good friend Ian Thorpe put together one of the most interesting and relevant blog posts I can remember around the topic of conference events and how to get the most out of them in today’s, now more than ever, social world, by pointing out a good number of suggestions and enhancements, mostly around the area of networking, good and relevant content less concentrated in presentations (The well known Death by PowerPoint), and more into conversations and discussions, as well as having great speakers, amongst several others, for what I would surely consider the next challenge for live events: Conferences 2.0. Pretty much along the lines of the insightful blog entries that another good friend, Rob Swanwick, put together a couple of years back and which still seem to be pretty relevant. Worth while a read, specially, for those conference organisers that are starting to ramp up activities for the next upcoming conference season, which, in my case, it always seems to start in June (Don’t know why…).

Once again, like I have been doing for the last few years, I keep wondering whether events organisers would take into account some of these various different suggestions, helping us all progress further into what (social) conferences should be like. What do you reckon? Will it happen in 2011 this time around?

I guess time will tell… but for now, and while I gather some additional further thoughts on improving face to face conference events with some of the key learnings I have acquired based on my own experience over the course of years, I thought I would share with you folks a very funny, hilarious and rather entertaining video clip that I am sure I am going to be reusing quite a bit over the next few months, mainly, every time that I plan to attend a live conference event and I may get told that I cannot live-blog, live-tweet, take pictures, microblog / microshare, bookmark presentations, share information across, etc. etc. It’s just not going to happen. I am sorry.

It’s just pretty much part of me, and who I am, when I go and attend those events, to go ahead and share a bunch of insights of things that are taking place live while we are all physically participating in that event, and as most of you folks already know, if the conference wi-fi connection holds strong it’s also a great pleasure, and a privilege, to be sharing with the rest of the world some of those live experiences acquired and assimilated during the course of the event, as a powerful method to help amplify what gets shared across and what conversations have gotten started already, just as much as try to keep the conversation going, at the same time, before, during AND after the event. I guess that is the same thing that happened to these folks I mentioned above from this brilliant video that lasts for a little bit over 3 minutes and which certainly will make us all have a giggle or two, perhaps a good laugh, even, but also set the right level of expectations for the next time we all get to attend a live conference event.

What do you think? Shouldn’t ALL conference events strive to provide that seamless, unified, shareable social experience, not just for the “in situ” participants, while attending a live conference, but also for those folks who may be remote, but still rather interested in the topics discussed? I hope so. And that’s why I am hoping that, as the conference season is about to kick off, we will all start witnessing a shift on how conferences get organised and how knowledge workers get to participate seamless both online and offline. Quite a challenge, I know! For sure we would never be capable of substituting the powerful interconnectedness of face to face events, it’s what still makes pretty much worth while attending them in the first place! Yes, indeed, the networking part, as I have mentioned already over here a couple of times, but can you imagine the potential outcome of such perfect blend of both virtual and physical worlds while participating in a conference event?

The opportunity to make it work is just mind-blowing. We just need to seize it and somehow I keep wondering which conference around Social Business, Social Computing and Enterprise 2.0, amongst several other concepts related to social, will be capable to lead by example and share with each and everyone of us some of the potential to turn upside down the way we participate and engage in conference events today. Yes, I know, and I do fully realise that no conference out there is going to be 100% perfect in meeting everyone’s needs, but if you were to single out a component from a recent event that you attended that you could have done with what would have that one been like? And the opposite, what has been the activity you have enjoyed the most from any of the recent conference events that you have attended face to face? Care to share it in the comments, please?

Let’s do it! Let’s all try to build the ultimate conference event experience for the world around Social Business, Enterprise 2.0 and Social Computing. It’s very much needed, in my opinion, as both Ian and Rob already mentioned in the blog posts I referenced above, amongst several others. So, what else, apart from a rather robust, scalable and pervasive wi-fi connection throughout the venue would you like to have available and what would you drop out altogether for good? Any initial thoughts to get the ball rolling?

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