Why Your Event Needs to Start Online

Skift Take

maximised their social media impact, became global and raised millions by starting and spreading online

This post looks at events that .

In 2009, I introduced the definition of a ‘Contaminated Concept’. Allow me to refresh our minds:

What is a Contaminated Concept?

A Contaminated Event Concept defines an event that is born usually within an online community or medium. Social networks have driven the success of such community and are an integral part of how the members interact.

A Contaminated Concept is designed around such community and succeeds online, because it was started online.

The difference between traditional and contaminated concepts is that the former chases social media, while the latter is the natural consequence of the momentum gained online.

Simply put, social media in a contaminated concept is at the beginning of the event design process, not at the end.

Why Should You Start My Event Online?

Julius: Technically you can’t.
You: Huh?
Julius: No, you can’t.

I am discussing a different approach here. First you build a vibrant community, then events are just an obvious consequence of it, almost inevitable as members want to meet.

Therefore the opportunity is in either building such successful community or becoming involved in one and run the events for them.

I am trying to figure out with you, dear reader, how the role of the event professional is gradually changing from initiator to facilitator.

Why Should You Bother?

This post is especially aimed at younger generations starting now in the event industry. My belief is that events as we know them will change dramatically, I started saying this in 2007 – at the time lots of people were smiling when I talked to them about Twitter.

Being involved in traditional events is going to be tougher and elitarian. Oh, and dull. Being involved in such community efforts will be natural and fun.

Dont’ Believe Me?

Let me show you 5 case studies of successful events that started online:

1. Meetup

Meetup is the quintessential example of what I am talking about. Here is an interview with the founder of almost 10 years ago. Having run monthly Meetups with hundreds of people attending, I have experienced how you can make it a successful, money making event.

2. BarCamps

BarCamps are another fantastic example of contaminated concepts. They did start from a mail exchange between some techies and ended up in being a global phenomenon.

All BarCamps do start online on where avid attendees wait impatiently for announcements. Most BarCamps tickets are sold within few minutes from their release.

Having run my first BarCamp in 2007 and having participated in dozens afterwards, I must say this is one the most engaging form of events I have ever attended. Lately, a wise group of event professionals realized that as well with the EventCamp initiative.

3.TechCrunch Disrupt

With 2 Million subscribers and recently acquired by AOL for an embarrassing amount of money, TechCrunch is the leading blog about technology.

The community around TechCrunch is powerful (mostly because of VCs looking for the next Startup to invest in) and affluent. An obvious step was to start having meetups that recently evolved in TechCrunch Disrupt, a major traditional conference now held in New York, San Francisco and Beijing.

For the skeptical reader, please note how traditional conferences do succeed when started online, it is not just wishy washy, let’s be friends and hold our hands kind of events.

4. Twestival

I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Twestival, then called Harvest Twestival. We all understood what Twitter was and it was very natural for us to get together in the same room, have fun and give away our money to charity. If you get Twitter, this is what it is all about.

Twestival became something bigger though. Thousands of young and energetic Tweeps became overnight organizers and helped raising millions for several charities. This is because of the power of Twitter and the vision of Amanda Rose.

5. Girl Geek Dinners

Sarah Blow had a fantastic idea few years ago. Tired of tech events being populated with testosterone and recognizing women’s outstanding contribution to the tech community, she started women-only dinners about geekery – by the way dear reader, if you like this blog, you are a mini-geek yourself. I am sure lots of boys guffawed at the time.

Girls Geek dinners are now happening in 87 cities around the World. Who’s laughing now?

I met several organizers and members of the community. It became like a smarter version of the Fight Club with a passion for sharing and having fun. What a powerful idea.

In Conclusion

As you may have noticed these events are very different from each other. Some are vegans, some love beef. Some make money for themselves, some for others. Some are free, some are paid for – or a mixture of both.

The common denominator is the online nature of the beginning and the fact they have become global phenomena.

I guess it is time to raise the bar and think differently, my dear reader. This is where the fun is at!