On Wednesday, February 15, 2012, our #SMRTCCE class participated in the McMaster Class in Advertising at the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington. The event featured a major gift announcement and a presentation by directors of the Pirate Group from Toronto.
The hashtag #MacPirate was used on Twitter for tweets related to the event. Tweets with the hashtag were projected onto a screen during the presentations. Some students were there at the RJC participating from the audience. Others participated remotely or reviewed the tweets afterward. Following is a review from Deborah McIvor (@mcivorda), a virtual participant.
INSIDE THE FRAME – MY TAKE:
This event was an opportunity for our classmates to head out on a ‘field trip’ of sorts and support the Twitter ‘back channel’ as participants engaged with the presentation. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to a previous commitment. I did, however, tune in near the end of the event and reviewed tweets (and blog posts) afterward. As an added bonus, McMaster’s Daily News, as well as other media sources (e.g. Globe and Mail), had posted a great write-up and video interview with Pirate Group co-founder , Terry O’Reilly @terryoinfluence . This gave me a framework for the event’s context and content.
It was great to see added media to the tweets, which gave me a visualization of the set up, lighting and atmosphere and type of crowd in attendance. McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business supported content revelations throughout the presentation in tweets that were basically ‘sound bites’ ( See an example). That made it more interesting than just hearing background chatter about how the event was going from participants. I liked getting a sense of the event on a timeline, however, the real content I wanted to see was what I would have hoped to hear in person. I wanted more depth perhaps than a few tweets can provide, but at least sound bites of true content made me curious to pursue topics on my own after their mention.
VIRTUAL vs. LIVE ATTENDEES:
It was great to see collaboration, where #smrtcce class members would remotely tweet questions that live participants could then ask on their behalf. Even @maclibraries got in on the action, offering to ask questions for cyber attendees, however, I didn’t see a sign of answers in the thread. Perhaps not everyone asking questions remembered to use the #MacPirate hashtag?
I agree with another #smrtcce virtual attendee, Danielle, @danidogdays who wrote on her blog that it would be much more engaging if we could watch a live Web feed or perhaps even an archived one within the following 24-hours. I would add to her suggestion and ask the main presenters, specifically Terry O’Reilly, to follow up with responses to the Twitterverse community interested in following along with #macpirate.
WHAT WOULD I…?
STOP – As a #MacPirate event organizer, I would make sure there weren’t too many advanced comments about an event’s registration details that are not really content related. For example, questions or complaints about tickets or RSVPs could be handled through direct messaging to move them into a private aside.
START – I would encourage live Web feed of an event, promoted through Twitter periodically and find some way to respond to virtual attendees questions so that everyone monitoring the hashtag would see both the Q & A. It would be amazing to have the presenters respond, even if only to a few of the main inquiries on Twitter post-event. And if a Twitter user, such as @maclibraries, agrees to ask the panel questions live, can they somehow post the response in an easy to find manner?
CONTINUE – Advanced preparation of a hashtag that is unique enough to the event and not presently trending is excellent. It is also great to have a group of students or interns prepared to engage through a Twitter backchannel as an ‘ice breaker’ of sorts. ( I would recommend advertising the #MacPirate hashtag in the media release and on McMaster’s “Worth Mentioning” section of the home page.) I’m not aware of whether live attendees were coached to participate in the Twitter discussion, but I imagine they probably were. I think people love to see their tweets posted in a projection of word clouds, so that would definitely be encouraging.
While I would have preferred to attend in person, at least the online discussion allowed me to get a small taste of the event and piqued my interest in terms of attending similar McMaster University events in the future. I must also add a big THANK YOU note to Pirate Group, for providing McMaster University students now and in the future with an awe inspiring amount of resources in the field of advertising, marketing & communications and public relations.