After attending a fair number of media/tech conferences at LA’s Skirball Center, I recommend that all organizers of events held there heed the following:
1. Include Twitter names on the name badges. Not everyone tweets under their real name (some use nicknames, some tweet under company names). Not everyone uses a headshot as their Twitter avatar. Having an (optional) Twitter name as well as a real name on the badges will enhance the networking your event purports to foster.
2. Provide ample charging stations/power strips. Will press and bloggers be there? Do you want attendees to live-tweet? Then make it easy for everyone in the general seating area to charge phones, laptops, etc. (not just those at the perimeter tables). Batteries won’t make it all day; you’ll either lose the exposure you’re seeking, or lose your audience as they flee to an outlet. The 140TC conference had power strips under every row of seats back in 2009 (thank you, Steve Broback and the Parnassus Group!), so it’s clearly doable. Just. Do. It.
3. Don’t compete with your own show. The Ahmanson auditorium is not sealed off from the hallway dividing it and the lobby; lowering the mesh curtains between them doesn’t block out sound. DO NOT SET UP PRESENTATION TABLES IN THE HALLWAY, OR PERMIT CONVERSATIONS THERE, WHILE THE CONFERENCE IS UNDERWAY. The audience can hear you (quite clearly, in fact). The speakers can hear you. It’s distracting, it’s indiscreet, and it’s disrespectful.
Come to think of it, points 1 and 2 apply to organizers of any social media-related event. (And all this, of course, builds upon my Attention Conference Organizers post of a year ago.)
OK, rant over… unless you, dear reader, have something to add? Leave it in the comments.