Tips for virtual conference attendance

SHRM’s premiere event has just finished and we right in the middle of conference season for North America.  All of these conferences now generate lots of discussions online.  For example was a great conversation that has been going on spearheaded by Your HR Guy, then Amitai Givertz then Your HR Guy and finally by Amitai again on networking and the value of conferences etc.

This all got me thinking what can I find out about the conference online, considering we have several hundred bloggers within the HR community and at least a few of them would be in attendance, other than Joel. Could I attend virtually from Australia?

So I set out on a hunt to find out.

The conference this year has been blogged about by a few people, if you check out this search on Technorati for details, there are a large number of press releases in the results so you have to sift through them to find some real content. But it is really hard to find out what is going on!

There are a couple of tricks that you can use to make it easier for other people to find your content. This is best initially promoted by the conference organisers, if you are one TAKE NOTE!

Firstly create a tag for your event, for example SHRM2006 would be a good one for this year’s conference adding the year makes it easier for people to find content year after year. None posted on Technorati with that tag, but there are a few under just SHRM the Cheez being one.

Next promote the use of the tag to all participants. Make sure everything going onto Del.icio.us, Furl, Flickr etc and into blogs has the same tag. Then others can easily get the content, for example

Then aggregate the tagged feeds into a single RSS feed so we can all virtually experience the event. Maybe look to turning this feed into a “River of News” and project it onto a big screen during conference breaks, lunches etc. This allows everyone to see what is being said online.

Other ideas.

Look at having an IRC channel created for discussions both during and after sessions. This provides an additional method for people to participate even if they are not about to physically attend.

Podcast every single session, and post them at the end of each day. This may shock the average conference organiser but you will get a different audience and if you place advertising correctly within the podcasts your advertisers will get benefits long after the conference has ended.  Also support ad-hoc interviews of the conference, and provide attendees and way of easily publishing them.

Let me know if you have any other good ideas on virtual attendance.

3 thoughts on “Tips for virtual conference attendance

  1. Good idea Michael, and one that I had not really considered doing before at the ER Expo.

    I’ll have to think some more about podcasting from the event, but we will definately do some sort of organized tagging so people can easily find all of the ER Expo-related information (from anyone) easily.

  2. Fantastic David, that way we can all track what is being said online about the event. Podcasting would be great, even if you released them 4 – 6 weeks after the event.

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