Mindy Holahan, our business support manager and one of the handlers of our Twitter feed, was on-deck to experience the magic of Event Camp Twin Cities' Philadelphia pod. Here's what she learned about hybrid events.
A Revolution in the Meetings Industry? There’s a Room for That.
Two weeks ago, the meetings industry took a big leap forward. Did you feel it? That’s when the second annual Event Camp Twin Cities took place in Minneapolis. We hosted the Philadelphia pod in our Revolution room.
But wait! What's a "pod"? And how can an event in Minneapolis have anything to do with Philadephia?
A hybrid event brings off-site participants into an on-site meeting and allows them to participate in the meeting. Off-site participants gather in a pod for real-time streaming of meetings that are going on at the home site. Guests can ask questions and give immediate feedback, just as if they were at the main conference. This year’s event had pods in Philadelphia, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Silicon Valley, and Hawaii.
All we needed was a steady internet connection, but we like to do things a bit fancier in the pods. Traci Browne of Red Cedar Publicity and Marketing organized the entire Philadelphia pod experience from top to bottom. Jeffrey Halligan from Dyventive made it so that the feed went both way: participants in Minneapolis could see us, as well. And we wired secondary monitors that allowed the pods to interact with each other (that led to some friendly competition, especially with the Silicon Valley pod).
Event Camp Twin Cities uses Twitter, and the hashtag “ectc11,” for better real-time discussion flow. Followers of the #ectc11 stream sent along questions and comments, and Emilie Barta, the virtual emcee, represents the off-site audience.
What makes Event Camp so special?
Event Camp Twin Cities is the first hybrid event lab—a conference specially designed for event professionals to experiment with technology and social media together, rather than risking failure with their own events. Failure was a welcome partner in the event: The motto for the event was “If we’re not breaking things, then we’re not innovating.”
In the Philly pod, we threw ourselves into the experiment. Some of the tools failed. We had some trouble connecting with the Facebook app that streamed the secondary sessions. We had moments when the incoming flow of information was more than we could handle. But overall the event was a resounding success. We learned how to better use social media to bring together people across the globe—and we formed new friendships with our pod-mates.
I missed it! Do I have to wait another year?