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Posts tagged ‘user-generated content’

After 110 Pages of Tweets is Twitter Worth It?

On March 5, 2010 – I celebrated my first Twitterversary. It came and went without much fanfare as I forgot that it happened. However, I thought it was worth reviewing my progress over the past year.

In my first 365 days, I wrote 2,743 tweets – which is about 110 pages worth of tweeting. I have to admit that I was shocked that I had written so many pages of tweets. (For the math people this assumes that each tweet takes up 1 line in a page and there are 25 lines per page.) It made stop for a few minutes and reflect on what I had learned over the past year from using this new tool.

Below are some things that I have learned. Have a look and then let me know if you think all of this tweeting was really worth it? or was it a massive waste of time? Of course, if you have things to add from your own experiences – please do so. The more the merrier!

20 Things I Learned in My First Year of Tweeting

  1. Twitter is a super-simple way to publish messages. How hard is it to write one sentence and hit send? Not hard.
  2. When you have 1,000 followers it is impossible to listen to what everyone is saying with equal attention.
  3. Tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite help me organize my Twitter “ears” and listen to the people and conversations that are most important to me.
  4. I choose the conversations to follow and dip my toe into other conversations of interest throughout the day.
  5. In some twitter groups – members find and share articles that would be impossible for 1 person to find on his own and in a timely manner.
  6. Twitter is a great way to spread content to like-minded individuals.
  7. Twitter isn’t for all people.
  8. Twitter is public – so it won’t work for any private or confidential corporate events.
  9. Many-to-Many conversations on Twitter are fast-moving, action packed and fully archived. Watch what you say!
  10. Conversations on Twitter can be archived at This is a great resource to go back and review what was said.
  11. I once summarized a full conversation of tweets with 1 tweet. Is that good or bad?
  12. I started this blog because of Twitter. I know 10 others that did the same.
  13. Twitter is a super-simple way to connect remote and virtual attendees.
  14. While the movers were packing boxes at my home, I participated in a conference via Twitter 4000 miles and nine time zones away.
  15. Luckily, not everyone is on Twitter.
  16. I never had any interest in following Shaq, Britney Oprah or Aston Kucher.
  17. The #eventprofs community on Twitter is awesome.
  18. I attended a conference in February because of the people that I met on Twitter. I had an awesome time! Some people think I was crazy.
  19. I attended a conference in March because someone tweeted that they were attending. Does that make me a stalker?
  20. Twitter introduced me to thousands of interesting people in the past year. If it weren’t for them – I would have left this technology long ago.

Bottom Line

While Twitter is a simple technology – it is a powerful communication tool. After 110 pages of tweets, I am very thankful for the people that I met on Twitter this past year. Without them – I probably would have abandoned the technology very quickly. Thank you Twitter friends!

image credit: @cdharrison

Lessons in Engaging Attendees from Event Camp NYC 2010

On Saturday, the self-organized twitter group #eventprofs organized its first conference. The event was called Event Camp and was centered around Social Media in Events. This was supposed to be an unconference – but was really more of a tribal meeting in my mind. [See Mike McCurry's post for more] You see, this group recognizes each other’s unique talents and uses those as an opportunity to learn from each other and work together.

Friday Dinner At Event Camp

Friday Dinner At Event Camp

Here are some lessons from Event Camp on engaging attendees that I hope will help you.

Pre-Event Community

Event Camp created an event community around the event with the Omnipress Conference 2.0 solution. This turned out to be helpful for many attendees. I noticed that many would received the daily digest and then add their ideas or comments. Three things came out of the community: (1) High Awareness in the Hybrid Events Session and Fishbowl Sessions, because these sessions were discussed on the conference community. (2) Informal Dinners and Social Gatherings were arranged by the attendees. (3) Several attendees were invited to share and shared their reasons for attending with the larger audience.

[Read Jenise Fryatt's post on How Social Media Creates a Need For Attendees To Meet Face2Face for another excellent perspective.]

Big Blue Buffalo Hats

The Social Collective has an interesting solution called CrowdCampaign that was used by the attendees to choose some swag that the event staff had to wear. Fortunately, the organizers were very gracious in purchasing and wearing the Big Blue Buffalo Hats. However, there is a second use of CrowdCampaign happening right now. The attendees are trying to decide on their number one takeaway. The list is starting to get really interesting. [crowd campaign list of takeaways]

Reinforcing Messages with Multiple Channels

The backchannel was projected on screens throughout the venue – but most people had one eye on the laptop or iphone and another eye on the speaker. Personally, I found it really helpful to be able to scroll through the backchannel messages on my new iphone. Being able to see these same messages delivered in a second medium helped reinforce some key points for me. (Not to mention that there is a transcript of tweets that I have used to go back and review the event.) While, I recognized that this helped reinforce the messages to me – it was Ray Hansen of IML that actually pointed this out. Thanks Ray.

Including More People

Thanks to Mike McAllen of Grass Shack Events & Media and the team at Core Staging this event had a hybrid component. The main plenary hall of the conference was being broadcast on Livestream and secondary sessions were recorded. As an attendee, I found it really engaging to get input, ideas and questions from these virtual attendees. Equally important, we made sure to wave once or twice to our friends at home too. I think this was a nice touch.

[Read Emilie Barta’s post - Live and Virtual Events Compliment Each Other, Not COMPETE with Each Other for more]

Bridging the Virtual And Face-to-Face Audience

This community was active on the twitter backchannel, making comments asking questions, etc. Mike McCurry was an excellent conduit between the face-to-face audience and the virtual attendees. He made sure that any questions the virtual audience had were integrated into the face-to-face discussion. This is a key role to making sure that their voices were heard, too. [Read Christina Stalling's post on some of her backchannel learnings]

Engaging Virtual Attendees During Breaks

Breaks can be quite boring for virtual attendees that are watching the room be reset or attendees getting coffee.  So, it was very cool to see Emilie Barta (a professional tradeshow presenter) interviewing speakers and attendees during the break. I think this is a low effort – high return way to enhance the virtual attendee’s experience.

Let’s Jump into the Fishbowl

My session was a collaborative session that used the fishbowl format. In this session, I turned the attendees into the experts and took the “guide on the side” role. This allowed us to do more learning from each other – rather than have me go through 6400 slides in 40 minutes. Since, I am the host of the Interactive Meeting Technology Blog – I would have let all of you readers down if my session didn’t have an interactive component.

[Read Lara McCulloch-Carter's post - Fishbowl session through the eyes of the virtual attendee for some discussion and feedback on my session]

User-Generated Content

Event Camp was loaded with User-Generated content. There was a “bloggers row” type space that was designed to make life easy for people using computers during the sessions. So far – there are atleast 10 blog posts on learnings and ideas created from the event. There will probably be several more. Also, there were dozens of photos taken from the attendees. Thanks to Social Media guru – David Berkowitz – the iphone application Cat Paint became the big hit of Event Camp. Cat Paint allows you to drop cats onto iphone photos before sending them out over twitter. Some attendees made sure that we all got a good laugh out this. Here is a picture of me with a cat on my shoulder. (Personally, I think the applications of this tool in terms of a sponsorable item would be amazing. take out the cat and insert – your event logo or product name.)

Bottom Line

Event Camp evolved out of an online community of individuals that has a passion for Social Media in Events. From the speakers to the attendees to the sessions this event was one of the most comprehensive and complete learning laboratories on Social Media in Events.

Ok – Event Campers – what else would you add?

(PS: Eventprofs recently celebrated its first anniversary on 9 February 2010 )

43 Social Media Tips, Tricks, Big Ideas & Real World Examples for Meetings & Events

When it comes to Social Media – all of us are learning. Some of us faster than others. You should be able to benefit from the successes, failures and experiments of other event professionals.

Think of this list as a “social media launching pad” to get your event’s social media program off the ground in a hurry. If you use all of the resources here – then you will find yourself inside a collaborative community of event professionals that are leading the events industry into the world of social media.

The list is loosely organized by category. Though, some articles could belong to several categories.

Start Here

As a starting point, watch this video of David Meerman Scott talking about Social Media in Events to the CMP Conclave in San Antonio, Texas last summer.

Resources & Communities of Practice

1.  Free Social Media in Events ebook. Three excerpts from this ebook. that you might find interesting:

2.  EventProfs Twitter Group: Self-organized community of Event Professionals

3.  Engage365 (Social Media for Events Community)

4.  Time to Shake Events Up

5.  Three Perspectives for Developing a Social Media Strategy for Events

Planning Your Event

6. Social Media For Events: 101 (Link to 10 Social Media in Events Articles)

7.  Mashable’s Guide to Using Social Media in Events

8.  Meeting and Event Planning with Social Media

9.  Why Event Managers Should be Using Social Media

Promoting Your Event

10. Using Social Media To Promote Events

11. 8 ways to use MySpace for Events

12. 13 Ways Linked Supports Event Marketing

13. 5 Powerful ideas for using Facebook for Your Events

14. Social Media Amplifies Event Marketing

15. Why You Need Bloggers and Tweeters at Your Next Event

16. Three Reasons to have your Presenters Create Videos to Promote Their Sesssion

17. Why User-Generated Content is Good for Meetings & Events

Social Media Marketing Guide by Anne Thornley-Brown

18. Social Media Marketing Strategies for Event Planners – Part 1

19. Social Media Marketing for Event Planners – Part 2: RSS Feeds & More About Blogs

20. Social Media Marketing Tools for Event Planners – Part 3: Twitter & Facebook

Social Networking & Community Building

21. Pre-Event Community Building (Excellent Resource)

22. Using Twitter to Build a Community Around Your Event

23. 14 Online eCommunity Options For Your Next Annual Meeting

24. How To Make Your Event’s Social Network Easy to Join

25. How To Increase Social Media (and technology) Adoption

Backchannel and Twitter

26. 10 Reasons Why Your Conference Should Use a Backchannel

27. Bringing Twitter’s Backchannel to the Frontchannel

28. Tips for Using Twitter During Presentations

29. Tweeting At Conferences And Events: The Good, The Better, The Best

30. 5 Ways to Visualize Twitter at Events

31. 8 Tips for Monitoring the Backchannel during your presentation

Other Useful Resources

32. Using Social Media for Meetings and Events

33. Role of Social Media in Future Events?

34. Does Social Media Feel Like an Awkward Embrace

35. Using Social Media To Listen To Your Conference Attendees

36. Social Media in Events Survey

37. Social Media Revenue Streams for Trade Shows and Conferences

38. Technology Plans for 3 Leading Organizations

39. Benchmarking Event-Driven Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns

40. See how welders use Twitter at Tradeshows

41. User Generated Content & Conferences: Shoot the Reaction

42. 6 Must Read Posts about the ROI of Social Media

43. Best Use of Twitter at Conferences: Change the Context


I am not omniscient and I didn’t stay the night in a Holiday Inn Express.  So, I probably missed some useful resources – like like your killer blog post or awesome online magazine article. Please accept my apology and use the comments section to add it to the list.

5 Questions with Event Industry Crowdsourcer Mike McCurry

Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to get to know Mike McCurry through Social Media. I read his blog – McCurry’s Corner (you should too) and we both are part of the self organized Twitter group – #eventprofs.

We have never met face to face. I expect that will change one day.

One thing that I can tell you about Mike – he is a crowdsourcer. Mike uses his social network to collaborate on projects. Capturing an insight here, collecting a photo there, Mike leverages the talents of his friends to breathe life into his ideas.

These projects have included articles on MPI’s WEC Opening Session in Salt Lake City and the ASAE Conference in Toronto (Day 1 & Day 2).

Most recently, Mike used Google Wave to interview several industry professionals to get their persepective on 2010. What was supposed to be 1 blog post – snowballed into an avalanche of insights – and became 5 blog posts. Feel free to read them below:

  1. What were the successes of 2009 in the Meetings and Events Business?
  2. What’s the priority business issue to focus on in 2010?
  3. What is the Next Hot Social Media Tool?
  4. What is the role of social media in events?
  5. What is the Future of Printed Media?

Mike McCurry - Author of McCurry's Corner

Time to Turn the Tables

Now, I am turning the tables on Mike. I am using Google Wave to ask him some questions about this impressive crowdsourcing project:

1. Mike – where did you get the idea to use Google Wave and crowdsource these blog posts?

Mike>> Sam, I had been toying with the idea, for some time, to do an “interview style” blog posting but due to other job responsibilities kept putting it off because there was no easy way to accomplish that. Then in November I discovered Google Wave, started experimenting with the application and the light bulb came on. I realized this would be a perfect platform for this type of collaborative work. There you have it.. the rest is history!

2. What was going through your mind when everyone started answering the questions? Did you expect this type of reaction?

Mike>> Well, because Google Wave is so new, and so different from pretty much any other web 2.0 application, I expected it might take a while to get the people I wanted to interview on-board. One of the biggest frustrations was of course that Google is letting people in only on an invitation basis. Since very few of the people I wanted to include in my interview were on Google Wave yet, my solution was to leverage Twitter to monitor available invitations. I did this by creating a search column in Tweetdeck with the keywords “google wave.”

Since Google Wave has been a trending topic on Twitter for some time I knew there would be a large volume of tweets, which there were. As I discovered tweets from ppl offering invitations I responded to them one-by-one and then collected the invitations in a “pool.” My next step was to invite my Social Media friends to join Google wave one by one.

After joining Google Wave my colleagues began responding to the questions. I soon realized, by the strong response, Google Wave was a natural fit for this type of project. The results were, as you know, terrific. I really did not expect things would come together as quickly as they did!

3.  As a participant in this process, I had a lot of fun thinking through the questions and reading everyone’s responses. What kind of feedback did you get from other participants?

Mike>> The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from colleagues that participated in the collaboration. They all unanimously believe it was an interesting and productive experience.

One constructive comment, made by Jeff Hurt, which I agree with, is some blog readers may have been disappointed they were not given the opportunity to participate in the wave as well. I have not received any feedback to that effect, but it might be an issue. I do know I received very few “comments” posted on the blog, thus far, from readers. That has me confused, as I expected there would be a lot of conversation. Maybe it is something I am doing wrong on the marketing side… not sure.

I would be open to any suggestions from other interested users regarding this subject.

4. Do you have any advice for event organizers, speakers or subject matter experts that are interested in using Google Wave to tap into the ideas of their audience?

Mike>> Yes I do. I do not believe Google Wave is stable enough yet for use in events to any large degree. One of its major shortcomings is it’s “lagginess.” That is a problem that must be resolved before this application can be used effectively for any large collaboration project. There are some real challenges with some of the functionality, such as, for example, no undo button. This application is in “preview release” right now so it would be expected there would be bugs in it. These will be resolved I am sure, before the Wave is released to the public.

Also, since it is not open to the public yet… there is a very limited audience that can actually use it. This is obviously a problem in the context of events.

5. Based on this experience where and how do you see Google Wave being incorporated into events?

Mike>> I personally believe there is great potential for this application to be incorporated into events. For Starters It could be an alternative to Twitter as a conversation tool to enhance meetings. Blips in Google Wave are very similar to Tweets, except they can be modified, and collaborated with. That is exciting.

Brainstorming sessions, Think Tanks, Q&A, Roundtable discussions are all meeting formats where a Google Wave would be an enhancer. For an “un-conference” where you design “crowdsoureced” content on-the-fly this application would be a perfect fit. With the ability to embed video, graphics, photos and audio components it could also serve as presentation software.

The possibilities are endless…

Bottom Line

Mike has demonstrated that using Social Media and Social Networks you can tap into the insights of the audience. Also, he has demonstrated that you can do it anytime or anyplace – before, during or after your event.

Attendees have never been smarter or more connected than they are today.  What are you doing to tap into their ideas and insights?

Note: Photo is Courtesy of Mike McCurry.

Engagement: A Simple Text Message Will Do

Today’s event technology has the ability to engage audiences beyond your meeting, conference or event.

Consider Chalkbot. This tool allowed the virtual audience (those at home) to share messages of hope and join Lance Armstrong and Livestrong in the Tour De France. Chalkbot collected text messages and chalked them on the street along the Tour de France route. Watch the video here:

Bottom Line:

From time-to-time, your passionate members and raving fans will not be able to attend your events. While that is a pity – you don’t have to ignore them. Channel your Inner-Chalkbot and find ways to include these people!  You don’t always need sophisticated interactions – a simple text message will do.

Why User-Generated Content is Good for Meetings & Events

Imagine that you are a Prince fan. Not just any fan, but a big fan. Now, imagine that Prince is coming to your town for a once-in-a-lifetime concert. Of course, you really, really, really want to go but tickets sell out in 8 minutes. You didn’t get any.

Now, you are riding the bummer train to sadness city.

Does that mean that you wouldn’t think about the Prince concert ever again? Of course not – you would think about it every minute. You would gobble up stories, videos and pictures that are posted about the concert — Like this video.

Ignite Passionate Fans (or Advocates)

Your meetings and events have passionate fans (or advocates), too. They might not look and behave like Prince fans – but they exist. Many of them are already spreading the word of your greatness – around the water cooler at work, to like-minded friends, etc. Some of them are using Social Media. They are writing blog posts, uploading pictures, making videos, etc. You can’t stop them – they are in a little red corvette and going crazy. You can only hope to harness their energy and ride the wave.

Quench The Thirst of the People at Home

Remember those people in Sadness city? They wanted to come – but couldn’t make it. Your meetings & events have those people too. They are thirsty for the sights, sounds and stories from your event. The sharing of stories, pictures and videos (User-Generated Content) by your passionate advocates helps the people at home connect with the event content, connect with the energy and become part of the experience.

Create Word of Mouth Referrals and Trust

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, conversations with friends and peers are trusted more than the slick-polished corporate stuff. (Duh!) Equally important, conversations with company employees are trusted much more than speeches by the CEO. By encouraging User-Generated Content – you create an unfiltered view of your event that is trust-worthy AND can be viewed as an endorsement of your event. This is a good way to encourage loyalty, retention and attract more participants.

Share a Taste of the Magic

Events are experiences that involve all 5 senses. It is hard to capture the magic of the experience in a press release or recap. By encouraging your passionate fans to share the experience from their point of view – even the raw and uncooked ones – a multi-sensory picture of the event emerges that helps people get the essence or spirit of the event. This picture can be useful to “future” first-time-attendees that are not sure what your event is all about.

Bottom Line

Encouraging your passionate participants to share stories, pictures and videos from your event is a good thing. You engage passionate people that could not attend and help them stay connected with your event and organization. Future-first-time- attendees get referrals from trusted friends and use the multi-sensory picture to get an idea of what your event is all about.

Are you embracing User-Generated Content from your meetings and events? Or are you in the Purple Rain?


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