Tuesday, March 12, 2013

(R)evolution of Mobile

Time for discussion -
EventCamp Vancouver
In January Hyper-Connectivity and the reality that we are all on, all connected, all the time was a point of discussion, and how we can possibly keep up this pace remains at issue. How we are now seeing approximately 63,000 words every day, and a plethora of images and infographics, all competing for our attention, all taking us away from old - fashioned human face-to-face interactive conversations is a new reality, but is it better? 

I have made so many friends on social media that I have now met IRL that I cannot disparage the power of social media for connections, but I can definitely say I prefer the time spent live with friends, colleagues, peers, and family.

Last week I wrote about the collision of social and mobile - "SMobile" as Claire Smith referred to it, and the challenges and opportunities that will come from the global shift (yes, global) to "we want it now and we want it on an app" that we are seeing all around us.  

Yet at the same time, Thom Singer this week looks at the reality that adding an app or even an app with a gamification component does not a conference community make - which I agree with, although I have seen it be successful, I have also seen it be a non-starter.  Both TED and SXSW - the two largest proponents of technology on many levels, have boldly said at their 2013 events "please, put down your devices".  The two links will take you to TED's 13 rules for attendees, designed to increase human, live, intuitive interaction, and then at SXSW how the festival is using human tools to draw people away from their devices and back to f2f collaborations.  I agree with all of these, there is a time to engage via mobile (it is a great way to find friends especially at large events) and a time to put it away and enjoy the people.

What are you going to do at your next event to increase the human engagement factor? The kinds of interaction that leads to collaboration, friendship, and real opportunities. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this ongoing (r)evolution.



  1. Hi Tahira:

    We specialize in creating engagement and alternative learning experience with attendees. One of the big mistakes that most event organizers make is that they assume that all attendees are the same. They are not! I am not talking about demographic or socio-economic differences - but attendee engagement behavior differences.

    We use a layered engagement model that helps us analyze the attendees and develop engagement strategies that appeal to all attendees. In my opinion, there is NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH to attendee engagement and digital engagement. I think that lots of people make this mistake in regards to mobile apps. They are disappointed when they get only 30% or 60% participation.

    The second mistake that I see people making is that they assume that create too many barriers to participation. Downloading a QR Code reader or mobile app is too much trouble for some people. Guess what? You are going to lose them as participants.

    The third mistake that I see people making (mostly with technology) is that they select a tool that works for the budget - but might not create a remarkable experience that gets people to engage. (Note sometimes more expensive is not better. ) The worst thing you can do is get people to register and download your tool and then forget it ever again.

    I would suggest that planners look at the experience that they are creating and consider how people will use this technology to engage with it. Knowing that not 100% of the people will engage with the tool in the same way - they need to make sure that there is value for all attendee types and all engagement behaviors.

    Thanks for sparking some thoughts, Tahira! Love your blog.

    - Sam

  2. Sam, those are EXCELLENT comments, thank you. You are definitely one of the people in the industry who is absolutely using technology for the benefits it offers the participants, thoughtfully and after understanding the client objectives. I do believe there are opportunities for including many elements - interactive learning, connection tools, and yes, even game elements that can work, we should continue to explore the possibilities of. I would also suggest to planners who feel overwhelmed that engaging with those that understand (like you) to build those experiences is a great way to start. Thank you also for sparking... that is the best part.

  3. Hi Tahira

    Great post as usual. I think it all comes down to what you want your delegates to do as a result of participating at the event? once you answer that question then you can look at the options of engagement available to you and decide which one(s) will work best. I am all for looking at new technology especially if it works to meet your objectives but equally if you don't need technology for particular exercises then that is fine with me as well. Sometimes the lack of technology can be a good thing. But it all depends on your objectives, so use as needed. And if being connected is important then make sure you have the bandwidth in place to support you.

  4. Paul, I agree - it is (in the words of QuickMobile's Tech Evangelist Trevor Roald) about following Fosters POST model - People, Objectives, Strategy, Tech. If tech is going to support the first three, use the technology. (that makes sense for your org or event). And thank you for the bandwidth reminder! And the comment.

  5. Hi Tahira:

    Great post! Nodding in agreement as I read Sam and Paul's comments, too. I just finished reading Dan Pink's latest book, "To Sell is Human" and there's a line in that book that is so simple, yet so overlooked. It echoes Paul's big question - What do you want your delegates to do as a result of participating at the event?

    "Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved."

    Conference organizers are getting better at provoking thoughts, but we need to focus more on the actions part, because that's what drives results, raving fans and loyalty.

    We're getting there... PS: Love your blog too!

  6. Donna thanks for adding to the discussion (and my reading list)
    I agree thay as planners we do not to ask questions and not just accept the "status quo" and that understanding the objectives more clearly allows us to recommend solutions for pre, during and following the specific meetings. Let us all keep this discussion going.

  7. When I subscribed to an Australian broadband service provider, I never knew how technology (mobile specifically) has evolved from almost nothing to something great.