Shock! Socialreporter joins the information professionals

At the end of 2008 I had a lot of fun doing some social reporting at the big annual Online Information event, as you can see here. I was there with my chum Ed Mitchell, who actually knows something about knowledge management and such things. I was mostly just pointing the camera.
This year I’m hugely flattered to be invited by organiser Lorna Candy to join the executive conference committee to help plan the event next December. You can see information about last month’s event here.
Steve Dale is chairing the committee this year, and I’ve been spending some time with him on work around the IDeA knowledge hub. I’m not a committee person, but Steve is a great social media and social reporting enthusiast, as well as being an expert on Communities of Practice facilitation and technology. I’m sure our meetings will be conversational and creative.
Over the past year I’ve co-authored the Social by Social book, and even presented (well, facilitated) on the Next Big Thing in Knowledge Management … so I’m sure I can come up with some ideas to contribute, even if they are other people’s. What do you expect of a reporter?
Fortunately just as I was pondering this blog post a retweet from LaDonna Coy alerted me to an ebook about how social media is changing events. I swear there is something in the knowledge ecosystem that sparks these connections at the right time.
The book includes these 10 ways social media will transform events, by Samuel S. Smith:

1. Attendees will not wait for microphones to ask questions. They will text or tweet those questions as they think of them. Attendees will not wait until the end of a session to ask questions that came up in the first five minutes of the presentation. This does not mean that the speaker has to stop his presentation to answer the questions. Rather, there should be a mechanism to send questions to the speaker in real time.
2. Attendees will answer questions for the speaker – while she is talking. If the questions for the speaker are streamed through the backchannel, these questions will be available to all attendees. E-learning research tells us that it is every likely that attendees will start answering each other’s questions, while the speaker (instructor) is still talking.
3. Attendees will tell you that the speaker stinks, the ice sculpture is melting and the croissants are stale – in real time. With Social Media, the feedback can be instant and shared with everyone. You should be prepared to adapt your onsite operations to this new reality.
4. Attendees will expect to connect with other delegates before, during and after the event. Time is precious. Rather than nametag surf through the crowd, attendees will setup meetings with like-minded delegates before the event. After the event they will want to keep the conversation going. It will be important that events help them stay connected and translate their face-to-face contacts back into the digital world.
5. Virtual attendees will start using social media to engage with your content and the onsite face-to-face attendees. Social Media and other digital technologies will help virtual attendees join the onsite discussion. They will do this from 3,000 miles away. It will be important to make the experience inclusive and collaborative for all attendees.
6. Attendees will want a voice in the discussion, learning and decision making process. The gap between the experts that are speaking on stage and the amateurs in the audience has never been smaller. Attendees are well educated, informed and have information at their fingertips. As this gap continues to shrink, attendees will expect to be part of the discussion, learning and decision making processes. No more speakers talking and attendees listening!
7. New events will emerge from online communities . It is easier than ever to create an online group, build an audience and start discussions. However, there is still a strong desire for members to meet face-to-face. In 2009, we saw many new events created around Twitter. In the coming years, we will see many more events emerge out of online communities. Equally important, events that do not embrace online communities will be hurt and maybe even close.
8. Attendees will register for your event if their contacts are attending. In the future, knowing if friends or business associates are attending an event will become part of the attendee’s decision process. Social media tools that check to see if my Linkedin connections, Twitter followers or Facebook friends are attending an event already exist. Over time, I think that we will see more of these tools implemented in events.
9. Events will become communities that last for weeks and months rather than a few short days. Event specific social networks, create a social hub where we can start conversations before events and continue them long after the event finished. Creating a social space where attendees can network and discuss trends, hot topics, industry (or business) challenges and best practices will be extend the life of your event.
10. Sharable content will be the way that your event is discovered by new attendees. Your webcasts, webinars, blog posts and whitepapers will need to be interesting, relevant and easy to share. Then, your participants and raving fans will start forwarding, tweeting and facebooking this content to their like minded friends. This will introduce new people to your event and the type of education and thought leadership that you provide. Also, this will make it easier to search and find your event.

That prompted me to trawl through a few more bookmarks and blog posts about social reporting, events, social media. More welcome.

After writing this I wondered, am I concentrating too much on the nature of events, rather than online information and knowledge management? But then, as the points and links above illustrate, online-offline distinctions are going, conversation and stories are the basis for knowledge sharing. It’s all part of the mix that social reporters can help to stir.


  • January 14, 2010 - 12:07 am | Permalink

    Sell out!

    Am sure you and Steve will bring a considerable amount of sanity to the process.

    Just make sure you give all your mates high profile speaking slots, hint hint…

  • January 14, 2010 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks David – some useful info here which I hadn’t seen before (e.g. the 10 ways that social media will transform events)

    Ref Dave Briggs comment – Dave, there is definitely a role for you. I’m sure Lorna Candy will be in touch 🙂

  • Conrad Taylor
    January 14, 2010 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    DW: “Attendees will not wait for microphones to ask questions.” How true.

    What would be interesting is to look at a way that a session chair could monitor a filtered Twitter feed or similar mechanism such as an SMS gateway, to get a sense of what are the top trending or most apposite questions, then call those questioners to contribute.

    Do any of you listen to the BBC World Service programme «World Have Your Say»? May be an interesting model to study as they have a studio panel and take questions from around the world as voice calls, emails and SMS.

  • January 14, 2010 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    @conrad – sounds like another chapter for the @dave Twitter guide
    I’ll tweet the question …

  • January 14, 2010 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    And I’m struck by the idea that social media will make the organising of ‘open space’ type events easier, as people make suggestions and sign up to groups faster electronically.

    I’m a bit of a novice in all things ‘e’, so I’m not sure how it’d actually work and what platforms or equipment would be used, but it seems like it could be a big advantage to use ‘e’ of some kind when doing that chaotic phase of open space.

    More than that, as attendees are so much better connected in advance and in the room, the pressure to rejig the agenda to suit them will be even greater, so ‘open space’ may break out spontaneously whether the organisers intended it or not!



  • January 14, 2010 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Good point Penny – and yes that is happening. See for example which has Ning network running for before, at and after discussions.

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