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13/09/2011 / Kirsty Pitkin

The Little Things

Today I have been busy assisting with the amplification of JISC’s Research Integrity conference at the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre, London. There is still much to do this evening, but I just wanted to share some of the little things I observed today that made such a difference to me as an event amplifier…

Clear Visibility

I was given a cardboard sign with a big picture of a Twitter bird to hold up when I had a question from the online audience for one of the speakers. This meant I was much more visible to the conference chairman, who was therefore able to give priority to these questions. I often struggle to be immediately obvious to the session chair if I am just another hand in the audience, or if I am sitting further back (as I was today) due to power socket constraints.

Effective Communication Channels

I had a direct Skype chat open with someone who was sitting in with the technical team whilst the operated the live video stream. Note: Not a member of the technical team itself. When something goes wrong with a live video stream at an event, the technical team normally focuses entirely on fixing the problem, making it difficult for me to communicate with them effectively. Today, the very wonderful Rebecca was able to talk with them directly as they worked, let me know what was going on and pass my feedback on straight away when members of the audience started reporting an issue via Twitter. This meant I could respond swiftly to these reports, making managing the issue much more efficient.

Greater Integration

The event chair reminded the audience throughout the day about the existence of the online audience, roughly how large it was, and directed comments directly to them, where appropriate, so they would feel included. This made the event amplification feel like less of a bolt on and more of an integral part of the event. At points during the day the online audience outnumbered the physical audience, demonstrating that the wide interest in the event online.

Conclusion

So, thumbs up to the JISC events team for making the role of the event amplifier fit in so much more effectively with the other workings of the event. These little things really do help!

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