Tuesday, November 10, 2009

rebooting comms with events

Conferences -- and what happens at them -- have seen fast and furious changes in the past year. Live-tweeting at meetings has gone from controversial to commonplace, for example. Event happenings can be shared around the world in near-real-time. Audiences want more and more participation, and the static forms of public speaking are shifting to make way for more hands-on activity. Conferences are selling out--particularly those that bring together online networks for in-person contact.

Snarkmarket blog calls this no less than the future of media, in this great post that reboots and reframes how we should be thinking about events, conferences and meetings. The post asks you to consider events as the creative engines of the next decade -- the next album, magazine or novel of the future -- particularly if they focus on "generation rather than recitation." That is, they're not just about speakers talking to an audience or reciting facts, but about all participants--including those remote from the event--creating something together. The five key factors to the types of events suggested? They should be live, generative, publishable, performative and serial.

This pushes the common notion of what we've come to expect at meetings and events, and I can see the appetite for this new model growing, sometimes uncomfortably, at every meeting I've attended in the past year. So communicators need to consider at least two things when figuring out where this fits in your rebooting efforts:
  1. How does this change the events you currently produce?
  2. What other creative engines in your current offerings can be rebooted as events?

I'll come back to the first question in a later post, as it's part of a larger discussion. On the second question, might you replace your news releases, magazines, annual reports, podcasts or even your Facebook page with an event? Snarkmarket looks at Pop-Up Magazine, a live event structured like a magazine. What would you do? What would the participants generate at your events?

I like the idea of making participation and generation the focus of events. Let me know if you have examples that I can share about ways to reboot your communications in this way.

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