UKOLN organises many workshops, conferences and other types of events. We also speak at and support events organised by others, including our funders (JISC and MLA) and fellow services, such as CETIS, MIMAS, EDINA and OSS Watch.

How should we most effectively promote our events, so that we maximise the audiences at the events and attract new audiences, whilst minimising the aggravation caused by event spamming. Organisers acknowledge this problem and try to defuse criticisms with the prefix “Apologies for multiple postings” – but there is still a need to ensure that people don’t complain that they never knew an event of interest to them was being held.

I seemed to have erred on the over-cautious side by failing to announce the one-day workshop on “Exploiting The Potential Of Blogs And Social Networks” as widely as I should have done, with at least one speaker informing me that he hadn’t seen the event announced anywhere. I’ve tried to remedy this by some further announcements to email lists, and have kept a record on the event’s news page.

But what can be done beyond email announcements, in a Web 2.0 world? In this case, I have created an event in Facebook which provides details about the workshop (as illustrated below). I have sent an invitation to a small group of my Facebook contacts (avoiding the temptation to spam my Facebook friends who will have no interest in the event). The intention being that my Facebook contacts who I’ve not notified will see that I’ve created this event and, if it’s of interest to them or their colleagues, will then register.

Viral marketing, without the intrusiveness of email, I hope. Anyway, that’s the purpose of this experiment – and your comments are welcome.

Event description in Facebook

And for those of you who have read this far, the one-day workshop will be held at Austin Court, Birmingham on 26th October 2007. The workshop will provide a number of case studies which will describe a variety of ways in which institutions are providing blogs and making use of social networking services, including use of WebCT, Elgg and Facebook. The vent will also provide an insight into the student’s perspective of such tools and then review the challenges institutions will face in providing such services.

Further details, including access to the online booking form is available at

The cost of this 1-day workshop is £85 which includes lunch, coffee, workshop materials and access to the WiFi network.