Tag Archives: events

Twitter for event organisers

Twitter is now a mainstay for events – it is far too easy to find yourself tweeting away and tuning in to the hashtag and getting involved in conversations across the room with people you have never met. In fact it is often useful to monitor tweets for events that I am not even at.

When organising events, one of the requirements today has to bedisplaying those very tweets. Not only do they present live feedback of the event; it also acts as a great prompt for more tweeting and offline conversations. In fact at recent Lyris, I had that exact requirement. I wasn’t really happy with using one of the many Twitter clients out there like Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop – they are great outbound tools but not ideal for displaying tweets on a large LCD screen and grabbing attention.

There are several tools out there made specifically for events. They all display the tweets in a way that encourages attention, whilst some also allow moderation – either automatically or with manual intervention.

The tools I looked at recently were:

Visible Tweets
This is as simple a tool as you can get. Go to the website; type in a hashtag and have all tweets – updated in realtime – presented to you in a visually attractive way. Given the simplicity and audience this was the tool I went with. For those who want some added complexity – it also supports Twitter’s search operators so you can refine further by date; sender etc. You can also choose from 3 different animations; though for an event I tend to veer towards the “Rotation” style.

Twitterfall
Not quite as sexy as Visible Tweets; there are plenty more options with this tool. Again you can use a hashtag and/or use Twitter search operators; but in addition you can exclude keywords; change the speed of the animation; exclude retweets and even restrict by location (though I assume that would require everyone tweeting to share their location).

Twubs
Twubs has a fully fledged conference tool – having live moderation as well as a conference display view similar in style to Twitterfall though a cleaner design. It also has the ability to manage question and answer sessions for panels/moderators. Currently it is manual to set up (you have to fill out a request form) and it is currently free whilst in beta.

Wiffiti

I first saw Wiffiti (or something similar!) at a Forrester event recently in London. It definitely grabs attention with the movement of tweets and the automatic display of suitably tagged images from Flickr. It is really easy to setup and there is automatic moderation available so you can choose to show only G or R rated content. Compared to the other platforms; Wiffiti has a lot of functionality – allowing users to send messages direct to the screen using SMS as well as Twitter/Flickr. There is also some reporting available showing total interactions, number of unique users and location based information though I have not seen the actual reporting interface.

In the end I went with visibletweets.com and got plenty of positive feedback from the audience. It was quick and simple though it would be nice to get some level of reporting after. I do like Wiffiti as well though other than the visuals and the reporting I dont really need the additional functionality today – at the time, setup felt more complex but looking at it now it seems much simpler. As a result I might use that next time.

Events can solve Twitter abandoners

Twitter’s current strategy seems to be to woo celebrities to the network and in turn that will drag the mainstream along with it. The problem with this is that whilst reality tv is very popular reading the text of celebrities is not always that interesting. Hello magazine etc do a good job of just showing the interesting bits and can monitor Twitter for them. How many times will the mainstream come back to see if anything interesting has happened. Not enough if the numbers leaving Twitter are anything to go by.

There is one thing that will attract people back – I gave it away in the title – events. I do not mean just the business conferences that have been popular on Twitter with the tech and marketing crowd. I mean the concerts and clubs. There’s enough focus and length of time that people will stay interested in monitoring it via their phones and they’re likely to meet people who are into the same things as they are building up a followerbase.

The end result is that a person reaches a critical mass of followers quicker and even if that fails to happen after one event they are likely to come back for the second.. and third etc etc.

Of course Facebook is still in a strong position due to its size if it can move quickly enough.

A possible problem for Facebook that everyone in the tech world complains about is the lack of asymmetric friendships. On Facebook, you can only see someone’s newsfeed if they friend you back. On Twitter you can choose to follow someone and not have them follow you back. However, the privacy in Facebook is a strong feature for them over time – there are some stuff you just do not want the whole world to see. Facebook’s fan pages may well do the job and allow you to see all the other fans and the celebs and then listen/interact with them.

However, whilst there is greater usage of Facebook’s mobile apps than Twitter right now, the Twitter apps are more obviously able to handle event specific message streams than Facebook using its search functionality. Facebook would need to change its mobile apps at least to accomodate easy access to fan pages.

Finally, neither Twitter nor Facebook have realtime updates on mobiles which would be a boon for this type of usage. But one step at a time 😉

(Image courtesy: Osei)

How To Be a Great Moderator

image source: Olivander

I am moderating a panel at Silverpop’s 2009 Marketing Masterclass next week on Engagement Email Marketing Problems Solved and thought I’d take a look around the web to see what were the best practices for moderating a  panel.

I came up with a couple of gems from two highly respected gentlemen:

  • How To Be a Great Moderator
    By Guy Kawasaki – though shorter, it gives ten great points on making a panel entertaining and informative.

It was suprisingly hard using Google to find video examples of panels online so if anyone knows of any send them my way, I would be interested to watch 🙂

(Image source: Olivander)