This year’s was the second edition of the event, the Social Media World Forum, aka #smwf. SixDegrees, who organizes it, did a good job of buzzing it through the roof. They proudly – and rightly so – reported a record 4000+ participants, more than doubling the first edition’s attendance.

H O W E V E R …

With success comes challenge and with commitment should come delivery. There were a few misses there, and especially regarding bloggers. The light went out on some of us… de-light.

A really friendly crew from PicturePerfectTV came to interview me on the morning of the first day and all I did was rant about the lack of organization and the bloggers’ plight. The short reel was released today, no wonder they cut me out of it !
The journalist seemed to be genuinely sorry for us (hello Andrew Psarianos!) but a ranting French person was not exactly the sexiest ad SixDegs could have dreamt of.

Therefore, I’ve decided to give this a positive and dynamic spin by listing suggestions for improvement instead of just ranting…

– When recording over 4000 pre-registrations, make sure to devote the right staff and enough staff to the actual registration on the opening day.
Because making people line up for over 30 minutes for registration on the Monday AM is NOT a good first impression.
Failing to provide proper guidance as to the line bloggers should stand in (general or media? Some of us went one way and the others went the other way) can be interpreted as a lack of interest. Just like when you build a community, if you fail to respond in an appropriate and timely manner, the people/users leave your group.

– When offering specific, differentiated participants categories, it’s always better to stick to those and deliver on the promises made to the various demographics
Because not delivering on official commitment to provide bloggers with red/white bracelet that would give “comfort” privileges (as in food and refreshments or ability to participate to the evening shindig party) is yet AGAIN a good cause for discontent.
Bloggers are business-minded people, you know. Just do NOT propose and commit to something that you cannot deliver on, it’s really bad for your reputation.

– When bloggers are promised a “bloggers’ lounge”, they sure expect more than a tiny space with a dozen bean bags, 3 tables (4 bags per table) and afew plugs. This doesn’t really go down well, especially when we all know that the number of bloggers will easily surpass that 12 big cushions lot.

– The quality of the speakers line up was uneven and the general feeling was that of disappointment: very little new content and quite a lot of pure theory that can easily be found in books (see Petra Semantia’s post).

Basically, what I’m saying is that there is a reason why you invite bloggers to attend your event. But for the partnership to be mutually beneficial, you need to cut through the noise to have bloggers hear your voice as they’re already snowed under by brands and companies willing to have good press. You have to be different and stick out.
But first and foremost, all you really need to do is show you care… The basics are the same as those of Social Media: talk to us vs talk at us.
To read more on this topic, see also Josh Chandler’s post.

Wait, it’s not all negative ! Read on …

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Comments
  1. Hi Liva,

    First off, I’d like to say thanks to SixDegrees, who obviously had a bit of a tough gig with so, so many attendees packed into that conference area. I hold my hands up and apologise for contributing to the wireless “tweets of rage” once or twice. Not exactly constructive, but I’d like to stress such reactions are born out of extreme frustration. As a search and social media professional working in the industry day in and day out, having poor wireless, power cuts and uncomfortable surroundings are tantamount to being gagged. For me the entire objective was nullified.

    In the interests of being more constructive I’ll give a real comparison.

    I recently liveblogged SES London. The wireless was okay, but we also had front row reserved for media (note, no distinction between bloggers and journalists – the search community are quite forward thinking like that) in that front row, we had tables and power points for laptops. There was also a private comfortable press room, away from the main exhibition.

    What this meant, was that I was able to produce 10 pieces on the show, eight of which were liveblogged, plus two video interviews with speakers. In terms of distributing this content, the decent wireless and power situation meant I was able to employ the tools of our trade, and Sphinn, digg, tweet and generally broadcast this content to those who were explicitly monitoring it.

    In terms of coverage, as followed up by Search Engine Watch and measured using Bit.ly we managed to secure 21% of coverage second only to Microsoft http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/100224-121501

    At #SMWF however, I managed to get out one liveblog, one round up, one “best in show” post. I didn’t attend day 2, as I have a company to run and simply couldn’t justify my time there.

    One final point… why treat bloggers differently to press at a social media conference? #FAIL

  2. Hannah says:

    Hey, they’ve been in contact with me too – I wrote this post: http://blog.skimlinks.com/2010/03/18/social-media-world-forum-2010-our-review/ about the conference, and they seem to be quite responsive, taking on board our feedback. I think the event has potential to be much better next time if they work on it.

  3. Hannah says:

    It was actually laughable at certain points, considering the mobile nature of those engaged in social media, that there were limited power points to charge up, horrendous wifi in places, and no cellphone coverage at the afterparty! Good on you for not ranting though – I was with you in the bloggers lounge when the power cut out, and you certainly had reason to rant 🙂

    • Liva Judic says:

      Hi Hannah ! Thanks for that. I’d really like more bloggers to react on this… please pass it on !
      SixDegs have actually just gotten in touch with me about this post: they sure are applying social media rules in getting me to voice some thoughts for next year’s organization.
      Let’s connect on Twitter, I’m merrybubbles.

      Cheers

  4. karin.aldea says:

    Wow! so correct.
    my feelings exactly. hope six degrees make the appropriate changes regarding bloggers & general matters.

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