I’ll admit it. I am one of those tech fanatics who has to have my iPhone within arm’s length while I’m at a party discussing how “communities aren’t what they used to be” because the dependence on technology that pervades our culture has contributed to individual isolation.
In the age of handheld devices, people no longer need to sit on the front porch to catch up with friends and neighbors. Now we just need to “log on” and we can simulate real connection by sitting on the couch alone with a laptop.
But when technology makes it possible to listen to inspiring lectures on your smart phone, watch a rock concert on your flat screen TV, or follow the World Series in solitude on your tablet, why do we still long to experience these events in person along side other people?
Because as much as technology can give us opportunities we didn’t have before and can enhance a live experience, what we long for is to be right there in the thick of it.
Live experiences are irreplaceable.
Yes, technology is making new things possible every day. One of the most exciting arenas that technology is enhancing is live experiences. Conferences, trade shows, concerts, book signings, church services, college football, Broadway – they all have the potential to become a 360-degree experience coupled with technology and specifically, social media. Here’s why:
1. Attendees connect with a brand like never before. Connecting with a brand via a handheld device while at a conference attended by thousands is a way for each individual in the audience to feel involved and heard. With event hashtags on Twitter audience members can comment on great speakers, get help with issues (such as handicap accessibility), and report on their experience in real time.
2. Brands connect with attendees. It just got personal. Social media makes it possible for brands to connect with attendees in a way that recognizes that attendees, conference goers, and clients are human. They post photos of their kids and dog on Instagram. They have a favorite sports team. Likewise, social media gives brands the opportunity to be relatable and accessible. Social media is a great reminder of the humanity in us all. With a Facebook status or Google+ update, brands can engage attendees and begin conversations in a way that can’t be done with a platform and microphone.
3. Attendees connect with each other. Utilizing social media for live events gives attendees the opportunity to engage other attendees with similar niche passions. Whether it’s a Facebook group, a Tumblr page, a Twitter discussion, or an event organized through Meetup, passionate attendees can find community at large events through social networks.
4. Attendees can connect with VIPs. Perhaps one of the coolest features of social media is the opportunity for people to interact with thought leaders. Whether through a brief Twitter Q&A or a Google+ Hangout, brilliant minds are more accessible now than ever before.
Utilizing social media at live events provides a true 360-degree experience. From conference organizers, to keynote speakers, to attendees, everyone can benefit from engaging social media during live events.
Have you tapped into the potential of social media at your live events yet?
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