F8 (web), Facebook’s developer conference, took place today in San Francisco but also all over the world through live streaming… which accounted for 100,000+ simultaneous viewers. Now if you compare that with TV, it does not seem that much but for a tech conference (or any kind of conference for that matter)… that’s huge!
I’m not sure how many people followed Steve Job’s Apple keynotes and in any case, Apple does not do live streaming but distribute the video hours later it has actually happend.
On a side note, and talking about Apple, Mark Zuckerberg borrowed several pages from Steve Job’s presentation skill. Though Zuckerberg’s delivery as a speaker was very good, at points it felt a bit embarrassing to hear the same expressions and see the same modisms as Apple’s ex CEO. On Twitter there was a recurring joke saying something like “and now Zuck is going to announce… one more thing.”
Facebook has launched a new version of Facebook Events, simplifying the process of creating an event to one step.
The most noticeable change is the newly-added ability to create events right from your home page. There is now a box that allows you to type in what you are planning, when it’s taking place, where, and finally who is invited. Facebook’sgoal is to dramatically lower the barrier to creating an event, making it a more useful tool for planning impromptu dinners or small trips.
That’s not the only thing that has changed. The “Create an Event” page has also been revamped, with a focus on “What are you planning?” rather than just giving your event a title. At the same time, event creation has been streamlined, but at the cost of a few features. You no longer control whether people can post photos or message to an event’s wall: anyone invited to the event will have that capability be default. There are now just two types of events as well: public events and private events — there is no more open, closed, or secret options.
Facebook events are also a useful and cheap (=free) way to organize meetups and conferences that do not require an advanced registration system. Given the large number of people registered to Facebook it allows attendees to easily extend the invitation to more [new] people.
There are plenty of online tools to make the live coverage of your conference over the internet. In this article I have summarized the most useful, powerful and easier to use ones.
The global availability of broadband and a bunch of web 2.0 services have made the live transmission of an event a low cost (if not free) and rather easy activity. In particular the power balance has changed: in the past, only the organizer could broadcast what was going on during the conference but nowadays almost anyone with a mobile phone or laptop+internet connection can do so.
The best way to proceed is for the organizer to produce its own flux of information plus encouraging the attendees to do the same on their own, providing them with free wi-fi internet access. The only risk is that if you produce a poor event, the world will know it immediately from the activity produced by your attendees… anyway you cannot hide, so the best thing is to give free access and try to do your best to organize a remarkable event.
Define your tag
Independently of which tools you or your audience will be using, it is very important that you define the official tag (also known as hashtag) of the event and that you communicate it to everyone, prior, during and after the conference. This will allow you to easily track the conversations that talk about you.
A tag is a short keyword that should represent the name of your conference. I also advice you to include in the tag the year the event is taking place in. Try to keep the tag as short as possible (but still representative) to save characters in services like Twitter, that only allows a limited number of characters (140) for each message.
Example: if your event is called “Green Business 2009” your tag could be something like “greenbiz09”, often represented as #greenbiz09, or “gbiz09”. The “#” tells programs like Twitter that this is your tag and makes it easier to track the conversation through a search engine.
Micro-blogging services are amongst the most popular ones today. The content consists of several short messages that describe what is going on at the conference, usually in real time.