By Michael M McCurry, CMP — Experient
This week I attended the ASAE Annual Meeting in Toronto, but the cool thing is I didn’t have to fly there. I was a virtual participant!
While I obviously was not able to experience the normal networking and social opportunities that go along with physically attending a conference I was able to at least experience a significant portion of the educational content. Utilizing a live Twitter stream, marked by Hashtag #ASAE09, I attended three General Sessions (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) following the tweets posted by virtual and live attendees. It was a very positive and interactive experience! Sunday’s opening session featured Gary Hamel, and was outstanding, and I wrote a blog article recapping it from the tweets that were posted.
To their credit ASAE made a significant effort to embrace and utilize social media tools to enhance the quality of this conference. On Friday I posted an article on my personal blog (McCurry’s corner) outlining all the innovations introduced at the 2009 ASAE meeting. To view that article please click here.
Sadly, one major component was missing from the ASAE conference, a live webcast of their general sessions. In my opinion this adds a blemish to what could have been characterized as a “technology homerum” for ASAE. During the conference I posted a Twit Poll asking attendees if they felt ASAE should have offered these sessions in a webcast. Unanimously, all respondents answered “yes.”
The only session offering a webcast was one led by Jeff De Cagna (Twitter handle @pinnovation) entitled “Associations Next: Serious Questions for 2010 and Beyond.” Jeff actually webcast his session independently of ASAE, using a personal video camera. To view an archive of this session click here. The quality of the video is so-so, but the quality of the content is top notch. In addition Jeff did a really nice job of connecting with the virtual audience! One tip — when you open the video please fast forward by fifteen minutes to avoid some tech issues at the beginning. From that point it is excellent!
It is really exciting to see the meetings and events industry demonstrate innovation and adaptivity to new ways of doing business. Congratulations to ASAE for leading the pack with their 2009 Annual Meeting! Not only did they serve their live & virtual attendees well, but they showed thought leadership and a commitment to the future of the industry as a whole!
This situation is a classic example of great customer service! Many ASAE members/non-members were not able to attend ASAE in Toronto, but due to the innovations deployed by ASAE at this event, they were able to virtually connect with attendees and enjoy “cliff notes” of the education content. I know, from my perspective, experiencing all this motivates me to find a way to attend the event live next time around. I am gonna start saving my money now!
If you were a virtual or live attendee at the ASAE 2009 Annual Meeting how do you view the experience? What did they do well and what could be done better? If you did attend virtually does this experience spike your interest/desire to attend next year’s meeting live? Please share your thoughts with us?