Zerochampion blogger Phil Clark is today (Think RIP) coming to terms with publisher CMP’s decision to discontinue its sustainability conference/exhibition event, Think – the latest manifestation of which, Think 08, I attended earlier this year. As the event organiser, he lists various reasons behind the decision:
- Crowded market/branding
- Names – “we were too late to get some showbiz names for the event”
- Preaching to the converted
- The market – green initiatives were hit by the credit crunch.
- Live/Online? – on this last point, Phil writes:
With the proliferation of events is there a risk of ennui setting in for face-to-face? Are we all now going to pile into online events from now on? People have offered similar predictions for radio and print but such an interpretation is way off the mark. Just look at how live events/festivals have now exploded when it comes to all things cultural to suggest that if you pitch it right crowds will come. The disappointment is that we were unable to crack it for Think.
As regular readers will now, I have been wondering about the wisdom of live events as marketing and communication tools in the AEC industry for some time, particularly when it comes to promoting ICT tools. But, as identified in relation to Sustainability Now (also organised by Phil – see my posts here and here, for instance), pure online events are not the perfect alternative either.
With Be2camp coming up in mid-October, I am hoping that Phil is correct when he says: “if you pitch it right crowds will come” (echoes of Field of Dreams?). The often-used Web 2.0 phrase “the wisdom of crowds” is particularly appropriate here, I think, too, as we are looking to Be2camp’s participants to set the agenda, to identify speakers, volunteer sponsors and to agree how the event should be structured. In this way, rather than the organisers dictating the course of the event, the destiny of the event will be in the hands of those wanting to get involved, whether they attend live or via online routes. Perhaps Phil might be tempted to join in himself?