TEDxSeattle – A Real-Time Event
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design – http://www.ted.com . For over twenty years TED is known worldwide as the premier event to be seen and learn about leading edge ideas, people and humanity. Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
In Spring 2010 TEDxSeattle was started by a core team at the University of Washington’s, Masters of Communications for Digital Media (MCDM) program. A year early Tim Reha, New Media Synergy’s CEO, met with the Director of the MCDM program, Mr. Hanson Hosein to discuss a new approach for real-time events leveraging social media, live streaming and real-time internet dashboards. The TEDxSeattle event was a perfect platform to experiment with new ideas, so Hanson Hosein tapped Tim Reha and New Media Synergy for a pro-bono position to lead the real-time events team for the event. In the past as CEO of Venture All Stars, Tim Reha of New Media Synergy was partners with the main TED event, thus New Media Synergy was already knowledgeable about TED’s brand and content guidelines.
The Real-Time Events System
The team was created with New Media Synergy staff, volunteers from the UW MCDM program and a few hand picked innovators such as Colin Christianson from Tenacious Ventures. We created specialized roles for all team members to speed up the media production and social media syndication process. The goal of the team was to drive exposure of the TEDxSeattle social media and content channels in a new manner by creating a cross-traffic network effect with the use of a real-time social media lounge and dashboard.
- Social Media Event Integration
- Social Media Team
- Photography Team & Real-Time Editor
- HD Social Media Lounge
- Real-Time Social Media Dashboard
- Live Stream
Social Media Lounge
The team setup a special media hub featuring a SteelCase MediaScape – a nice desk with attached large screen monitor. These served as a central hub for the team to expose our real-time operations and live social media dashboard.
Guest speakers were invited to the social media lounge when they immediately came off stage. When the speakers are on stage they are literally blind to the audience due to the bright stage light. It is really hard for a speaker to gauge what the world is thinking about them while they are on stage.
Photos by: Stephen Brashear, www.smbphotography.net | Follow @stephenbrashear
We wanted to capture the real-time interest in a speaker by creating a customized internet dashboard for each speaker that connected all of their online content, blogs, links, photos and videos, plus real-time conversations in one place. TEDxSeattle speakers were amazed to see real-time conversations about their speech that just happened minutes ago. They could add in links to more information about their topic right to the dashboard page, on-the-fly with the help of Tim Reha who worked as a type of real-time information DJ at the social lounge.
The key take away was a high-tough experience for TEDxSeattle speakers that amplified their exposure with deep links to the best content and real-time conversations of their audience – all in one place.
Social Media Team
The social media team was broken down into two teams. The social team and the media production team. We then broke down the social media team into specific roles. Specifically we had a content team rapidly create, tag and syndicate content, while the other team engaged online guests and stimulated conversations. This model proved to be very effective as during the time frame of an event, every second counts, so specialized skill sets and speed are needed to create results.
Tim Reha from New Media Synergy engaged with Radian6 to provide social media analytics for the event as a sponsor. His team then pulled in other analytics data from Live Stream, YouTube, Flicker, Bit.ly and other domain specific tools such as Twitter analytics programs. We encoded links using Bitly to track clicks to Twitter posts while using Radian6 to learn about sentiment, most engaging speakers and audience members.
We experimented by looking a the event social stream through different lenses. Below is a Twitter StreamGraph visualizer that can drill down to specific topics that are highlighted by waves according to the timeline of the event. This approach is like looking at the “geology” of an event the way we would look at a tree’s rings or layers of earth. New visualizations tools are key to quickly identify real-time conversation trends, people that drive business decisions.We purposefully exposed our analytics to the delegates with visual projections on one wall and on our social lounge’s 55″ HDTV. Cool looking graphs tend to attract interest and in the context of social media, the exposure of our operations creates a hub for people to get engaged in the online conversation.
The results viewed in Radian6 are typical for what we see for most events. First there is a pre-event buzz, then a huge traffic spike at the event, then follow up wave of event “after shocks” due to content release days after the event. Since TEDxSeattle we have perfected real-time event modeling using a number of tools and techniques. This allows us to run operations at a blistering pace at events and keep the social stream content and conversation buzzing long after an event is over.
- Photos – Our event photos on Flickr alone had 10,000+ views in one week.
- Live Video Steam – 4,227 stream views, 3X more than all previous TEDx event video streams.
- Twitter generated 944 clicks from 21 different countries.
- Engagement was worldwide wide with USA, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Canada, Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Spain, China, Japan and Australia.
- Guest speakers said that their event experience had a profound change when they were able to come to a social lounge with their own customized social media dashboard page. This drove each speaker, targeted traffic directly to their deep linking information on the web.
- Sponsors such as SteelCase enjoyed watching event delegates experiencing their products in the field in a new “real-time” business environment.
The creation of the real-time event is very intense and takes deep expertise across hd content production, social media, search engine optimization, crowd dynamics, live streaming, dashboards and analytics. We learned how to streamline operations and create global exposure by creating good content, pushing it out quickly and engaging with our audience. By exposing our operations in the form of an HD Social Lounge, guests at the event had a center piece to peer into digital conversation of the event taking place on our real-time internet dashboard. The entire real-time events approach we created is a huge value with measurable results for the conference organizer, sponsors and guests.