About this Post
A recent series of posts on this blog have looked back at the IWMW 2016 event. This post reviews the use of technologies at the event.
The IWMW series of events has provided opportunities to evaluate a variety of online technologies, which may help to enrich the event experience and provide opportunities for delegates to evaluate technologies which may be useful in their own institutional context.
The use of online technologies dates back to 2005 when a WiFi network was available at an IWMW event for the first time: the IWMW 2005 event held at the University of Manchester. Although probably fewer than 20 delegates had a networked laptop at the time, the availability of online access at the event was significant because the 7/7 London bombings took place on the morning of the second day of the event and news of the event was first known and discussed on the event’s IRC channel. This led to an appreciation of the potential need for an online environment at future events in case of other disaster, difficulties or simply changes to the programme or similar alerts.
In addition to a communication environment which has been available every year since 2005 (initially using IRC and subsequently using Twitter) a variety of other technologies have also been used over the years, such as podcasts at IWMW 2005, a ‘chatbox’ at IWMW 2006, a wiki at IWMW 2007 (no longer available), the Ning social network at IWMW 2008, a blog for IWMW 2009 and also for IWMW 2010 and IWMW 2011, Lanyrd for IWMW 2011, the Shhmooze mobile app at IWMW 2012 and the Bizzabo mobile app at IWMW 2013. At the relaunched IWMW 2014 event a simplified approach was taken based primarily on use of Twitter and Lanyrd. This simplified approach continued for IWMW 2015 apart from the initial introduction of the Whova app.
A number of technologies are now established at IWMW events including (a) use of Twitter with an #iwmwnn hashtag (and an additional hashtag, such as #pn, #an or #bn to identify tweets for a particular plenary talk or parallel session); (b) Slideshare for sharing speakers’ slides (either on the IWMW Slideshare account of using speakers’ personal Slideshare account – with the iwmwnn tag helping to aggregate slideshows); (c) the IWMW Lanyrd account which provides access to event programme, timetable, speaker profiles and links to related resources for all IWMW events and (d) Eventbrite, which has been used for the past three years for event bookings. In addition the IWMW YouTube account has been set up recently for live video streaming and subsequent access to video recordings..
Links to further information about the technologies used at IWMW events since 2005 are given in the following table.
Technologies at IWMW 2016
Thanks to the kind sponsorship of the Digital Clarity Group this year we were once again able to have a dedicated event amplification team: Kirsty and Rich Pitkin of TConsult Ltd (with Kirsty perhaps better known on Twitter as @eventamplifier and blogger on the Event Amplifer blog). Kirsty managed the live Twitter stream at the event as well as the video interviews with a number of participants and speakers at the event, with Rich managing the live video stream and subsequently processing the videos which can now be viewed online.
A summary of the technologies used this year is given below.
IWMW Web Site
The IWMW 2016 web site is hosted on the main IWMW.org site. The Wordprerss.org software is used to manage the site. Note that following a hack of the site several months ago and the limited amount of systems expertise available it has been decided that only a limited number of plugins will be installed on the site, which will limit the functionality available on the site. In particular the numbers of accounts for the site will be restricted.
This year the work of the IWMW 2016 advisory group primarily touch place using the Slack communications tool. This proved successful and it is intended to continue with use of this tool for next year’s advisory group. It was also suggested that a Slack channel be set up for the wider web management community – a suggestion which will be explored shortly.
As mentioned above the Lanyrd social directory of events has been used not only for recent IWMW events, but also for providing a summary of the content of all 20 IWMW events. However recently access problem have been noticed with the site, so its long-term future seems to be uncertain. This suggests that the approach of using multiple services for providing access to historical information about the event series should be continued.
The Whova app was used for supporting communications at the event continued this year, thanks to the kind sponsorship provided by Whova.
The following comments about the Whova app at IWMW events have been made:
- “Keep using Whova or equivalent. Seemed like a great networking amplifier.“
- “[Best things about the event]: 1) The talk by Marieke on/about QAA was completely new, and very valuable information to me. 2) Networking opportunities during workshops, masterclasses and social events were flawless. Whova is the icing. 3) I like the format of this event (two half-days and a full day in between). It’s just right – not too short but not too tiring.“
The following point was also made:
- I thought it was organised very well. One thing to note was that I was a little confused about where to go get information just before the event as at that point we had email, the IWMW website, Eventbrite, Lanyard and Whova as points of contact.
This blog post seeks to explain the purpose of the various technologies used, but there will be a need to signpost more clearly the roles played by the various technologies at next year’s event.