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Posts tagged ‘MPI’

Shifting to Digital: the MPI World Education Conference

If your annual education conference attracts only 20% of your members what are you doing for the other 80%? How do you create and deliver education for them? How do you bring your community together?

Meeting Professionals International is making some bold moves in 2011 to tackle some of these challenges. Have a look at what they are doing at their annual world education conference and let me know what you think.

Rolling Out the Hive

The Hive is designed to be the hub of digital buzz for MPI’s 2011 WEC (see sketch above). It’s a physical space in the global village. The Hive combines the cyber cafe, info desk, interview studio, device recharge point, twitter wall, social media aggregator, lounge and a stage (for quick tech lessons) all in one place. The idea is to give attendees multiple ways to connect to the people, content and ideas at WEC. Digital Rookies can connect with Digital Allstars. Groups can hold tweetups. It will be so much more than a cool place to recharge your phone and hangout.

Transforming MPI Website into a Virtual Hub

In another bold move, the MPI website will become a funnel for all social media during the conference. It will aggregate the tweets, photos, videos, blog posts, etc into a single place. In addition, sessions will be streamed live to the MPI website. Some content will be free and others will be available to members only. The rest will be uploaded into MPI’s on demand program. This is a major shift from 2009’s $300 virtual access pass experiment and a good evolution.

Crossing the Pond

The UK chapter (a large european chapter) is working on an initiative to run a parallel event. They will get UK members together and have a viewing party. Some of the sessions from Orlando will be streamed live to the UK chapter’s viewing headquarters. If this comes together – it will be a first for MPI and could open the doors for other viewing pods in other regions with heavy membership around the world.

Bottom Line

If 80% of your members are not attending your annual conference, consider other ways to connect them with the people, ideas and content from your event. Meeting Professionals International is shifting to digital with a multi-pronged approach.

What are you doing?

Are You Thinking Outside the Room?

Bruce MacMillan wants MPI members to look at their meetings and events in a new way. He wants them to look at new ways of connecting people to ideas and content. He wants them to start thinking outside the room.

That’s the message that he brought to MPI Members from Minnesota and Wisconsin at the Midwest Regional Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, today. I hope that he continue to share this same message with all chapters around the world.

Bruce brought more than theory. He brought three “A” list events that would inspire anyone.  I have summarized each event below – so you can be inspired too.

SAP’s Sapphire Now

Luca Favetta and his team outdid themselves with this event. They built a hybrid event that linked two hub cities of Frankfurt and Orlando and integrated thousands of people online. They used TV studios to create additional content and connect people to a broader audience.

Cisco GSX

In 2009, Cisco’s Global sales event was in danger of being cancelled. Instead of cancelling the event, they created a virtual event. They pulled together over 19,000 people and created a remarkable case study in the process. They created interactive games, like the Threshold, to get thousands of people involved and participating.


TED does four things to connect people to ideas and content outside the room. First, they use an 18 minute format for their presentations. Second, they regularly publish videos on their websites. Three, they have TEDActive which is a simulcast event for people that could not attend the real TED event (See Interview). Fourth, they have the TEDx series of self organized events that help connect people to the content.

Bottom Line

We have the tools to connect people and ideas to larger audiences around the world. The events above show you what you can do with gazillions of dollars. There’s a big secret that most people don’t know about. You don’t need a gazillion dollars to create innovative and engaging experiences for remote attendees. At Event Camp Twin Cities we proved that you can create engaging experiences with a lot less money. A lot less. (if you don’t believe me checkout the case study: Watch)

Are you thinking outside the room?

WEC Final: Love 161, Fiasco Zero

One of the great things about Social Media is your ability to monitor conversations.

The general consensus at MPI’s World Education Conference in Vancouver last month was that the Twitter conversations were up and complaining via Twitter was down.

So, I did a short analysis on the Twitter conversations from WEC to see if this was true. My analysis was purely structural and did not allow me to do any deep categorization of the tweets.

MPI WEC WordCloud

Here are some statistics:

  • 511 Unique Tweeters on the #wec10 hashtag from 24-28 July
  • 5126 Individual Tweets under this hashtag.
  • 80% of the Tweets (4100) were made by 20% of the Tweeters (97 people).
  • 36% (1826) of the Tweets were “RT” version retweets.
  • The word love appeared in 161 Tweets, the word great in 469 tweets and the word like in 200 tweets.
  • The word bad appeared in about 40 tweets.

For those of you that are curious, the word “Fiasco” appeared zero times.

What do these statistics mean?

First, they show that we can measure and frame the conversation. However, statistics on their own need to be put into context. I don’t have any statistics about the other MPI events to know if these statistics are above, below or on par with the normal tweetage. (I just made that word up.)

Second, the large number of retweets tells me that the twitterati found ideas tweeted by others worth sharing with their own social networks. Since, we were trying to spread ideas and information outside of the MPI and WEC community – I think this is a valuable statistic.

Third, I did a light keyword analysis and found that the sentiment was mostly positive among the tweeters. I think this is great – because at some events – the twitterati can be brutal. If I had the resources, I would have taken a closer at the keywords and phrases to see what appeared to be the most popular. (The wordcloud above is the best that I could do.)

Finally, these statistics give us insights on participation. Social Media participation does not follow a standard bell curve distribution. You rely on a few people to create most of the Social Media content and a larger group to comment and share that content.

A Word About “Social Media Kung Fu”

Live Tweeting during a session takes some Social Media Kung Fu type skills. Speaking from experience it is hard. Here’s what your live-tweeters have to do: Listen to a sound bite from a speaker, synthesize it into a simple 140 character message, type it into your smartphone without errors and tweet it. All of this happens in seconds. It takes practice to become proficient at it. Not all Social Media people can perform at this level on-site at an event. I still consider myself a student.

Bottom Line

If your intent is to spread ideas from your event to the world, then be sure to recruit some twitterati to live tweet during sessions. When selecting them make sure that they know Social Media Kung Fu and have some tools (like a table and chair with power) so they can type faster.

There is a lot here for us to talk about. What else would you add?

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Note: I did receive partial registration reduction for agreeing to participate in the Social Media Guru program at MPI’s World Education Conference.

Attendees: What is in Your Social Media Toolkit?

Recently, I was selected to be one of the MPI Social Media Guru’s for the Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference in Vancouver.

As part of the deal, I made this little video with my iphone:

The video immediately prompted questions about what I am bringing to participate in Social Media onsite. So, here is a list of what I am packing for the event.

iPhone 3GS: My Social Media Swiss Army Knife

The iphone has a camera, video camera, wifi capability, auto-upload to YouTube and photo editing software. plus a number of social apps. I plan to use my phone for most of my on-the-spot content capture and creation that will occur in the hallway conversations and during meals. Expect to see tons of photos and videos from me. All via the iphone.

Macbook Pro 13 inch: My workshop

I can type like a world champion with the keyboard and film short videos with the built-in webcam. I can edit movies, write power tweets, schedule tweets, write/publish blog posts and podcast. I will use the Macbook Pro during sessions to write and respond to tweets – because I type to slow on my iphone 3GS.

Powerstrip and Extension Cord: My Lifeline

Apple makes great products – but they never have enough battery power. To keep myself plugged-in to the content, I will carry a powerstrip and an extension cord around with me.

Headphones: My Podcasting Tools

Mike McAllen and I plan to record a few editions of our Going Digital Podcast. So, I will bring along my headphones with microphone to make sure that I am ready to record a show in the hallways or on the Expo floor.

Paper / Pen / Pencil: My Old School Tools

While I am mostly digital, I still like to use paper and pen to frame up ideas or solidify my understanding of interesting concepts. So, I plan to have a pad of paper and pencil in my bag as well.

Small Rollerbag: My Transportion

While the A-Team has a cool van to carry their gear, I will have a roller bag – backpack thing. Um, not so cool. But I need it! One of the challenges of carrying your gear is that you need compartments and organization. The roller bag backpack gives me an office on the go type of setup. So, I can setup and unpack in a few minutes. (If you have a cooler suggestion – let me know. I am all listening.)

Bottom Line

In my opinion, these tools will be more than sufficient to engage with you all of the on-site and remote attendees via Social Media. 

What do you have in your Social Media Toolkit?  Is there anything else that you recommend?

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Inspiration for Your Shiny New Event App

application examplesOver the past few months, I have been collecting smart phone apps that I think are doing “cool” and “innovative” things in my inspiration folder.

While I haven’t found any “event” app that seems to pull everything together in “just the right way” – I have found several event apps that are worth checking out. In fact, if you could mash the best elements of these apps together – you could have an awesome event app. Today, I want to share a few of these apps with you.

Without further ado, here are five event apps. that I hope provide you a little inspiration.

Vancouver Olympics 2010

> Which Event: 2010 Vancouver Olympics

> What does it do: This app was designed to be an Olympics guide that fit into the palm of your hand. It provided a real time schedule of events that was searchable and sortable by venue, date, event type, etc. It used the phone’s geo-position capability to help users find their way to venues, etc. Finally, there was a live Medal scoreboard and news stream that helped you stay on top of the latest news.

> Why is it a source of inspiration: I thought the user interface was innovative and well done on this application. While I was writing this post, I learned that if you shake the phone while the app is on – it will show you different videos. Cool. (Don’t ask me why I was shaking my iphone!)

Meet Different 2010

> Which Event: Meeting Professionals Internationl’s North American Education Conference (called Meet Different)

> What does it do: This app provided a real time schedule, links to social tools, speaker profiles, etc. Some of the same stuff as above.

> Why is it a source of inspiration: I liked how this application bridged the social applications (Twitter, Pathable community, etc.) into the application.

March Madness on Demand

> Which Event: 2010 NCAA College Basketball Tournament

> What does it do: This app provided a status update on all games, streamed the radio broadcasts and live video broadcasts from the games. Also, it linked personalized content just for me on the NCAA hoops website. Finally, the application sent me notifications that told me when games were close OR when a potential upset was about to happen.

> Why is it a source of inspiration: The live video and alerts (also called push notifications) were awesome here! You could select different types of alerts that you wanted to receive. Then the application would send you these little “heads up messages.” I think this could be a useful way to send attendees special update messages like “You better get to the lobby! The bus is leaving in 10 minutes.”


MTO Summit Chicago

> Which Event: Meeting TechOnline Summit Chicago

> What does it do: This app provided a schedule for the event, personalized schedule, link to speaker profiles, exhibitor information, session feedback forms, twitter stream and the exhibitor guide.

> Why is it a source of inspiration: The personalized schedule was very useful. I could select different sessions from the event and include them in my schedule. It was very easy to do and I could see how it would simplify life at larger, more complex events. Also, this application had surveys and feedback forms embedded in the schedule. Having paperless feedback forms rather than paper made it easy to complete the forms and submit them – like 1-2-3.

Digital Now

> Which Event: Digital Now Conference

> What does it do: This app provided an agenda, speaker profiles, video case studies, partner information, linkedin and twitter integration, ability to send feedback to organizer and the ability to record audio notes.

> Why is it a source of inspiration: I really enjoyed the video case studies. It seemed that the videos were embedded in the application when I downloaded it. I didn’t have to connect to some other place etc. This was a great thing. Also, the links to the social sites (twitter and linkedin) allowed me to engage right away from the application.

Digital Now Video Case Study Screen

Bottom Line

Hopefully this post gives you a good idea of some of the creative things that other events are doing with their smart phone apps. I am sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I imagine that there are many more interesting ideas out there as well.

What other “event focused apps” would you recommend event organizers consider for inspiration? What other features would you like to see in these apps?

(PS – For those of you that would like to debate the validity of smart phone apps vs handheld devices for events — hold your horses — that will be another post. Save your ammunition and check back in a few days.)

Virtual Events 101 Presentation at MPI EMEC

On Monday, 1 March 2010, I gave an introduction to Virtual Events presentation at the European Meetings and Events Conference in Malaga, Spain.  While most introductions to virtual events presentations concentrate on the technology involved – I tried to keep the focus off of technology and on the when and why to use virtual events as part of your event strategy.

Here is the slide deck. Some notes from the presentation are below:

What is a virtual event? How are people using them?

This presentation contained some insights and ideas from my participation in the “Virtual 3rd World” at the Virtual Edge Summit (Read more here). Where I tapped into some of the latest research data from Virtual Edge and George P. Johnson regarding virtual event usage and statistics. Also, I discussed the big question: What is a virtual event? and showed some of the graphs from Kelly A Graham’s presentation on Virtual Events.

Three Types of Attendees in the LikeMinded Community

One of the radical ideas that I proposed – was this idea that there are three types of likeminds in your event community:

1. Those that are attending.

2. Those that cannot or do not attend

3. Those that don’t know who you are but believe how your attendees do.

In my opinion, the virtual event is very powerful for giving the people that are your fans (and cannot attend) a platform for participation and sharing. In this sharing, your virtual participants can help draw in other likeminded individuals that don’t know about your organization, brand or event.

New Opportunities that Digital Technology Creates for Events

I shared my framework of the four opportunities that digital technology creates for events: Extend the Event Experience, Include More People, Increase Interaction and Leverage New Formats. Then, I discussed four different types of virtual technologies that could be used for their events and explained the advantages and differences.

One of the points that I tried to make in this presentation is that events are an explosion of content. While that is great, virtual events help us extend that content explosion and spread it much further. Also, they help us re-use the content that goes into these events over a much longer time.

Also, I shared some planning timelines from Cisco, where I made the point that a “Virtual Event” is a real event. You need to still go through your planning process in the same way that you would for another event.

Metrics and Best Practices

The final section covered some metrics and best practices that I wanted to share with the audience. In fairness, I could have developed this a little further – but I considered these bonus slides. I didn’t think that we would even get to these slides.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments on the presentation or the content, please let me know. I would be more than happy to answer any questions and expand on any of the ideas that were discussed.

Building A Digital Game Plan For Events

On 1 March 2010, I made a presentation at MPI’s European Meetings and Events Conference in Malaga, Spain on “Building a Digital Game Plan”.

The idea behind the presentation was to get the audience to think about how to get the audience to think about the opportunities that technology can bring to events in terms of extending the event, including more people, offering new formats and increasing interaction. Then, I wanted to show them a process for planning to implement interactive or collaborative technology inside their events. (This could be Social Media or other event technology).

You are more than welcome to look through the slides here.

Supporting Material

Equally important, I compiled several blog posts into a pseudo e-book that the attendees could use as a second reference. This was designed to provide some additional support behind what happened. Here is that document: Building a Digital Game Plan Article Collection.

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions on the content or ideas that were included in this presentation, please let me know. I would be happy to expand on any of the topics.  For the regular blog readers – there are some ideas in the slide deck that will be the subject of future blog posts.


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