Tag Archive for 'web20'

5 steps for hosting a successful online event

Last week my colleague Colleen and I supported  a groundbreaking, education summit in New Mexico: “Unleashing Knowledge and Innovation for the Next Generation of Learning”, convened by the Stupski Foundation, West Wind Education Policy, and the Knowledge Alliance.  Besides making silly videos in our off-time, I had a bit of time to reflect about what makes an online component to a conference successful.  I came up with the following 5 steps, which I elaborated on over at Forum One’s “Influence” blog. I’d love to know what you think makes online events successful. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

1. Know your audience
This seems like a no-brainer, but oftentimes people omit this step and move straight to the technology.  Knowing your audience: what they want to get out of the online portion of the event, what you hope they do online during the event, and what their relative technical expertise is are critical pieces to this puzzle and all should ultimately inform your event web strategy.

2. Use media to your advantage
There are lots of great social media tools that can enhance an in-person event, but you don’t have to do everything! (And you shouldn’t try to!) Pick a few tools and use them well.

3. Be creative AND flexible
Don’t be afraid to try something different - there is no set recipe for success. Plan ahead and try out new techniques for online engagement, but don’t be afraid to switch direction mid-stream. You never know what you’ll find on-the-ground at a conference site and you may need to change your strategy depending on people’s access to the Internet, their comfort with the tools, etc.

4. Empower people, let them own the technology and the messages
You can’t do it all yourself, and you shouldn’t! Part of the fun of using online tools during an event is the way in which technology decentralizes communication and conversation across participants and presenters.

5. Have fun!
Just because an event is a professional activity doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Using online tools to explore the conference culture, the side conversations, the jokes, and the social experience is a great way to break up more dense content.

Web 2.0 - it’s not just for kids

And I’m not saying that because I spend a good chunk of my day trying to understanding the nuances of the changing web 2.0 environment or how people are harnessing the power of the net in fun and creative ways. I’m also not saying that to defend my professionalism or my age - which despite my youthful looks - is pushing up against the 30-something mark. Whether I’m presenting on this type of information in the workplace, or responding to lectures or presentations about web 2.0, oftentimes I get skeptical looks when I share what I feel to be the power of these interactive and community-driven tools. But then these skeptics give me a once-over, do a double-take, and then they have their “Ah Ha” moment. Silly girl. She only finds these tools exciting because she’s just a kid!

I spend time using these tools NOT because I’m young, but because it’s part of my job. Maybe I just happen to be well-educated in the work that I do and I consider it imperative to know what’s out there and at least be semi-versed in it. Would you believe a year ago when I was living in Kenya I had little to nothing to do with these sites? I determined last fall that this was the kind of career I wanted and therefore I needed to go about learning the industry. And I did.
Continue reading ‘Web 2.0 - it’s not just for kids’

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

During the Web 2.0 session we gave to our study abroad Academic Directors (ADs) a few weeks ago, we began with this great YouTube video by Michael Wesch, a professor at Kansas State University. Even though the video moves quickly, and for many of our ADs English is their second language, the video was well-received and set the presentation off to a positive and fun start. The entire audience was completely engaged in what we had to say, and hopefully a bit of web 2.0 was demystified in the process.

And you can’t keep up with technology…

Note: this was first published for Michaela’s personal blog on August 21. 2007.

No sooner than I had made my last post, Google Maps announced that they’ve added a feature that allows users to build their own personalized maps and post HTML snippets to their blogs or Facebook pages, similar to the Zee Map functionality I mentioned below. It’s clickable AND draggable, and has the potential to feature all the images, text and video your little heart desires. Harrumph.

You can read more about on the blog here.

And here is my quick attempt at playing with this new feature illustrating my fall travel schedule:

View Larger Map

Incidentally, and I’m not sure if it had to do with my slow connection at work, I was disappointed with the speed at which I could update this map. Everytime I tried to add a new place, the map froze and I had to return to maps.google.com to get it to respond again. At least it saved the markers I already added. Also, overall I felt Zee had more features and seemed a bit more simple to use…. For example, I couldn’t seem to figure out how to set the zoom “view” for the user, so I could make it obvious there were more than just a few links on the map. If I went to the intro URL (maps.google.com) afresh, I was able to pick a view just by zooming (not intuitive), whereas if I didn’t type the URL in afresh, it would only create a map of the most recent marker I had added. For now I like Zee better. For now at least…