In his book Here Comes Everybody Clay Shirky writes – “If you give them more of a reason to do something, they will do more of it, and if you make it easier to do more of something that they are already inclined to do, they will also do more of it.”
Shirky came to mind when I heard that 3,000 attendees at an HR Block conference exchanged 153,000 digital business cards and 15,000 paperless brochures using the Busy Event BeLinker. (Case)
The BeLinker must be dead simple for attendees to understand and use. When I talked with Brian Slawin of Busy Event recently, I asked him – how did you get so many people to use it?
Brian emphasized three things:
- The organizer sent attendees emails telling them about the new technology.
- Attendees had a demonstration & short activity at the beginning to introduce people to the tech and let them try it.
- They had a support area for attendees with questions.
The Message: Simple is Good – but so is making sure that attendees feel comfortable with the technology.
Wait! Wait! There’s More!
While Busy Event has a great case – several similar technologies have entered the market in the past 15 months. Here are some examples:
> Poken – Originally designed for college kids, these are sponsorable take home versions of Busy Event. By touching your Poken to another attendee’s Poken, you can exchange social business cards that connect each other’s facebook, twitter and linkedin accounts together. By the looks of things – it is taking off at events. Read the BMW Case Study and IBM Case Study to see how this tool is being used.
> Mingle Stick – This little gadget works similarly to BusyEvent and Poken – except that it is not as robust as BusyEvent or as cool as Poken.
> Living TradeShow – The LivingTradeshow Crickit gives attendees a one button system for exchanging lead information. These little devices are tied to a powerful backend database and onsite network (like BusyEvent) to let exhibitors look at lead information in a live format. The cool thing about these CrickIt devices is that they can be custom molded for each tradeshow and serve as a take-home item.
A Word of Caution – About Mobile Devices
For those of you drinking the mobile-phone KoolAid, I think mobile has some work to do to become as-simple-for-attendees-to-use as these new gadgets. With mobile, you run into all kinds of problems with different hardware models, software compatibility, compliance, etc. At a recent event, I discovered that the attendees had many different types of phones and software applications. Trying to exchange mobile contact information was sometimes more effort than it was worth.
These new simple gadgets are creating new ways for event attendees to connect and share leads, exchange contact information and connect their social world to the real world. By giving all attendees the same technology (Belinkers, Pokens, MingleSticks or CrickITs) you are making sure that they are all working with the same business productivity tools.
What do you think?
image: courtesy of Busy Event
Reminder: I don’t receive any form of compensation for product reviews.