Archive for June 2009

Social Media 101

June 26, 2009

101A “white” nextMEDIA 2009 welcomed the world with snow on June 5th! Despite the “crispy fresh” start to this year’s event, the underdressed delegates—many from L.A. and some from as far away as Germany and Brazil—were still able to enjoy themselves.
The Internet and social web dominated this year’s nextMEDIA event. Monitors with Tweetdeck rolled along tracking the Twitter discussion and hashtag #nextMEDIA throughout the venue, keeping conference-goers up-to-date on the most recent chatter in and around the event. This hashtag evolved into #banff09, representing nextMEDIA’s big brother: the Banff World Television Festival. Discussion over the weekend covered the social web from several angles, including monetization models, culture and demographics, and search metrics. Talk regularly fell to differentiating between the hype of social media and its more productive uses.
Another well-discussed element of the social web was our involvement in the event. Judging by the current viewer-minute totals for the fusedlogicTV channel, many of you know we were doing our best to broadcast live via the Internet from that majestic castle in the mountains, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Most castles aren’t known for their blazing fast Internet connectivity, and this one was no exception. The single (slow) connection shared between the entire hotel complex was regularly too slow to even allow us to check our email; something that turned into a common point of contention among attendees.
That’s right folks, one of Canada’s premier tourist destinations is essentially an Internet “dead zone” when compared to other Alberta locales.
Is this even relevant or a fair criticism? Actually, it highlights a problem somewhat rampant through many well-used venues. Infrastructure is lagging behind requirements in many cases, and is further held up by owners and managers who think things are “good enough.” Events like nextMEDIA are now highly dependent on strong Internet connectivity. Conference organizers run the risk of a ruined event for no reason other than failing to fulfill the expectation of Internet access.
Spotty connections aside, the fusedlogic team was still able to get some great interviews broadcast live and recorded for those interested in embedding them on their own websites. By the second day, the great staff at Achilles Media, organizers of nextMEDIA, were able to obtain a better connection and pipe it out to the rest of us. With that taken care of, the event “streamed” on seamlessly.

Donning our own event-organizer hat recently, fusedlogic held its first Twitter for Breakfast at the World Trade Centre in Edmonton. It gave a group of people who knew little-to-nothing about Twitter a primer course in how it can be used for far more than one would expect. If your event is dependant on connectivity, we recommend you don’t take anything for granted. That’s why our process includes working with the location staff, in this case, the WTC to ensure Internet connectivity would meet our requirements. Experience has shown that in many corporate settings, firewalls, security protocols limiting access, are present. However, by going in ahead of time to double check connectivity, we were able to address these concerns. In fact, the WTC was generous enough to provide a technician after-hours to help make sure we were set up properly.
For Keith Persaud and his staff at Edmonton’s World Trade Centre, high-end technology requirements have become commonplace. “I think technologies like the Blackberry have influenced this. Audio/visual is much more than a podium and microphone these days,” he says. Mobile devices, 3G and Wi-Fi are enabling the sharing of user-generated content far easier than ever before. Access to the social web is of paramount importance for an ever-increasing amount of creative citizens. They want to generate or consume information—how, when and where they want it. These shifting behaviours, in turn, are influencing business models.
The WTC recognizes this trend as significant and is undergoing a technology restructuring at its downtown location. Built on a fiber-optic backbone, the building will be able to provide lightning fast connections, wireless access, and a host of other features. Clearly, it’s an organization that “gets it.” We’re looking forward to holding or attending events once this new infrastructure in place; Persaud suggests will happen by the end of August 09 or sooner.