This post follows on from one I wrote at the start of lockdown https://www.rimmergram.com/2020/04/virtual-events-a-rimmary/
During lockdown and the pandemic, I’ve attended a number of virtual events – ranging from using Zoom to a full-blown conference ‘type’ platform. My experience of all of them vary considerably but my overall thought is that you really get out of these events what you put into them, despite how good (or bad) the platform is. What I mean by this is that if you attended an IRL conference or event, and you hadn’t organised your schedule in advance or set up meetings, you’d end up wandering the halls aimlessly. Likewise, if you’ve not done your research about the focus of the event and which sessions you can dip in and out of, you might miss something important to you and/or your job role.
I admit it is harder to stay focused and engaged just looking at your computer screen, but if you’re dis-engaged then you’re going to miss out big time!
One of the first virtual events I attended was the London VMUG back in April. It was held over Zoom but was still a very interactive event and having been in lockdown for over a month, boy was it good to see some familiar faces! Just given my passion for all things VMUG, I’d rate this event a nine out of ten.
The next one was the UK Citrix User Group (UKCUG). Their first attempt at a virtual event was first on Go To Meeting, when they realised they had an attendee limitation, they switched to Zoom, but that caused a bit of a kerfuffle in getting everyone logged in but then proceeded OK but was not a great experience over all as everyone was unprepared for the interruption. However, their event outsourcer then instigated a virtual event platform and I’ve now attended two on this virtual platform, which is a great platform from CrowdComms that allows for great interaction and is a solid platform. Their autumn meeting was held just the other week and I’d rate the overall experience as an eight out of ten.
I simultaneously attended another virtual event during the CUG, it was an NHS virtual event that one of my clients, Droplet Computing, sponsored. Well, the platform was shocking! During the event I tweeted the organisers to tell them to look at another platform (CrowdComms in fact) and their response was at least an understanding they needed to change! When delegates can’t login in to sessions they want to attend, when the sound quality is poor, when presentations don’t display, it makes for a very bad experience. My rating is a harsh, but fair, one out of ten for this event.
However, I’ve saved the best to last……. VMworld. Wow! I can only imagine the hard work and effort that went on behind the scenes to make this online event so slick, so professional, so effortless. Kudos to the whole team that staged this event. The platform – despite my shitty internet – never went down, the quality was just superb. Also, being able to have a ‘private’ concert in my own home by John Legend was awesome! I couldn’t fault it, so it gets a ten out of ten.
I long for the day when we can have face to face events again, but in the meantime, if you’re looking to stage an online event, please use VMworld as your benchmark – anything less and you’ll be letting your audience/delegates down.
Stay safe and well my friends!