I think we do a pretty good job of delivering technical content, but not such a great job at getting the attendees talking to each other. The speaker side of things has definitely turned into a social event, how do we do that for attendees?
I don’t have the answer yet, but we’ve made a couple changes to try to move in that direction. At registration we now ask (but not require) Twitter and LinkedIn info. We’ve put together a networking page that let’s you see everyone who registered and provided Twitter and/or LinkedIn info. It’s a way to see who will be there before you go, and a way to track down and connect with people you met at the event.
In addition, we announce registrations on Twitter for those with a Twitter handle, plus new abstracts and sponsor signups. All of that Twitter activity shows up on the front page of the event too.
I think we need more, especially photos. We’ve got some options – Gravatar, Twitter photo, and LinkedIn photo. I suspect we’ll end up trying all three in hopes of finding one for each attendee. We probably should put Twitter info on attendee badges, one more way to connect.
What else can we do with technology without going overboard? Could we try to match up people with similar interests? Turn it into a game/competition of some sort? Looking for ideas!