Name two words that describe the web today.
Connected and community are two that come to my mind.
Conferences Are In The Connexity Business
Amazon and eBay say they are in the connexity business-making connections and building communities. Both companies demonstrate that the web is less an information source than a social medium.
Conferences need to shift to become more of a connexity business. They need to transition from information channels to being a catalyst for making connections and building communities. They can secure speakers that provide solutions to specific communities’ issues. They use content as a connector to like minded people.
Our pursuit of individualism has created a hunger for more connectedness. We yearn for communities not of blood relatives or countries but communities of choice.
People now come to your conference to find their community. Often their online actions drive them to want to meet face to face with like minded individuals. As a conference organizer, you can help them find their community of choice.
Conferences should capitalize on our culture’s need of connexity. They should help people connect and build a community online. Then create gathering places onsite like watering holes that people will go to so that they can connect with their like minded people face to face.
The conference becomes the catalyst for connection and community.
Connected Frameworks Of Community
Conference participants of today want to enjoy a self-identity within a connected framework of like minded individuals. They turn to these self-chosen communities for civic virtue, neighborliness and values.
Even introverts and painfully shy people who are socially challenged need connectedness. Even those who find community painful and persecuting need connectedness. We all have this driving hunger to be with people that understand us and have challenges similar to ours. We want to belong.
Me is inextricably connected to we. Even when we feel most alone, “I” am connected and dependent on a global mix of “us” communities. I am so entangled with these communities that it is almost impossible to escape. Even when I don’t want to belong, I find a driving need to reach out.
In the past century, everything was individual and little was communal. Today’s culture is more communal. Conferences of today must adopt this mantra: “To Be: Me needs to be We!” As the Xhosa people of southern Africa say, “I am because we are.”
We have to help our conference participants learn the difference between a life rich in connections and a life rich in contacts or rich in networking. The differences can either repel or fulfill the hunger in the soul.
Ultimately, our conferences need to create participatory experiences that help people find connections on a much more personal level. Speed networking sessions are not the answer. Obtaining more contacts doesn’t fulfill the basic driving need. Creating conference watering holes where like minded individuals can sit, discuss and restore the soul are critical to success today.
Conferences are in the connexity business.
- Creating EPIC Conferences
- Conferences Need To Focus On Creating Experiences, The E In EPIC
- Creating Participatory Conferences, The P In EPIC
- Metaphors, Stories And Images Are Important For Conferences: The I In EPIC Conferences
How would you feel about a conference that had rules that said “At this community gathering spot, for discussions, no religion and no politics?” What has to change for conferences to transition for information channels to community connection builders?