According to Wikipedia, back in 1981, approximately 750 million people watched Princess Diana’s wedding on television. This Friday, when Prince William and Kate Middleton marry, the television audience is anticipated to be closer to two billion. While I’m likely to be included in those 2011 statistics, I’m much more interested in how the wedding preparations are shaping up on social media – and how the use of these tools can be adapted by those running live events on a smaller scale.
Create a Facebook event
It’s really easy to create an event on Facebook – either using your personal profile or your Facebook page – and it’s a great way to bring together potential event attendees. The event wall can become a place for updates and photos of the venue, as well as a networking space for guests. If it’s an open event (such as watching the Royal Wedding on television), then information about the event can spread virally, as those ‘attending’ invite their own Facebook friends.
Have a hashtag
Of course, you have no control over how the internet population uses your hashtag, but by defining it yourself, choosing something that’s not immediately obvious and getting the word (hashtag) out to attendees, you can attempt to bring together discussion that is specific to your event.
This is not only useful during the event itself (as a way to get realtime feedback), but also during the planning stages. Could potential attendees could use the hashtag to tweet in questions to your conference speakers? Could they use it to identify other attendees and start networking before the event begins? Check out this blog post from Blue State Digital for more tips on using Twitter at a live event.
As the television viewing figures suggest, people like to see things. This Friday’s nuptials will be live-streamed on YouTube. While you may not have the camera crew or the budget to do something similar, it’s worth thinking about how you can use video to promote your event or capture it for people who are unable to attend. Video can bring to life the need for your fundraiser, build the profile of your speakers, spread your message or share the experience.
When I was working at YouthNet, for example, we filmed popular YouTuber Charlie McDonnell speaking at a launch event about how he got started with vlogging. It’s not a great quality video. It was filmed on an inexpensive FlipCam and the editing is minimal, and yet, as of today, it has had almost 19,000 views.
In the interest of keeping this post to a suitable blog length I’ll stick to those three points: Facebook events, hashtags, video. However, if you’ve got other examples of what can be learned from this royal use of social media or how web 2.0 tools can be used to enhance live events in general, feel free to leave a comment below.