As I prepare for my session at SXSW on Events Are Now Platforms, I find myself wrestling with a couple of questions:
1. What makes Events so uniquely compelling?
2. As social media has permeated all aspects of the events world, how can we best unlock their power for us, both personally and professionally?
Some describe what is going on as “the Internet eating its way through industry after industry”. Think music, publishing, travel. And now that disruption is extending to the world of events.
I’ve produced events for decades, and forged beneficial alliances around high level business conferences for the last fifteen years. Never have the answers to the above questions been more pressing.
That’s why the Session at SXSW won’t be just another panel presentation– it will be an interactive exploration (what they call a “Core Conversation”) that I invite you to join us for.
It is critical we start by re-thinking what events really are and the functions they truly perform. The chart below is a starting point that I offer for discussion:
The Event Graph
What might “The Event Graph” include and how can it help us in understanding:
what events have been
what are their functions, and
what are they becoming
For the purposes of this exercise, I am focusing on business conferences in particular, rather than the wider universe of all events.
I use the term “The Event Graph” because I think it has value for our purposes here. Obviously, the two most well-known “Graphs” are the Social Graph and the Interest Graph. These represent two of the core functions of events, and of the new tools (think Facebook, Twitter, etc…) which are transforming events. The Event Graph Model can hopefully be useful for us as we think further about our personal connections to what we get from events, and to the relationships between the major players in the Events ecosystem.
Even as I turn my attention to a follow-up post on the role of social tools (as potential solutions as well as disruptors), I would love to get your feedback in the comments, especially on the basic elements and functions I’ve posited above as making up The Event Graph. Is this the way you see it too? And what am I overlooking?