Walking the halls here in Hopkinton, there's a buzz in the air... EMC World in next week. This years event will see a record crowd, with over 9,000 customers, partners, technologists, journalists and analysts assembling from across the globe.
With some late breaking conflicts, it looks like I will not be in attendance this go. Probably just as well as I'm not 100% sure the statute of limitations has expired from last year's incident.
What's most exciting to me is the focus on Social Media this time around. A year ago, SM was but a concept in the fortune 500 space. Yes, we had flavors of forums here and there - but most had yet to embrace it as a core part of their business strategy. That's changed - and demand is bubbling up all around - EMC World is no exception.
While I've eluded to the approach in previous posts, I wanted to get into a tad more detail around how we're using some 2.0ish tools to compliment the main event. In the coming weeks, we'll undoubtedly share wins and lessons learned.
The topic for today - Twitter
I've said it before, but the more I think about it, I realize just how relevant a tool Twitter is for an event such as EMC World. Think about it - we'll have 9k people walking around Vegas. Aside from traditional hard copy schedules & agendas, there's no good way to communicate to the masses in an immediate fashion. Email doesn't really work as many won't have instant access and others won't want to eat the often ridiculous costs of wi-fi hookups.
Twitter, on the other hand, plays nicely with a device that most everyone will certainly have - a cell phone. It's quite gratifying for me to a question of the Twitter community and within seconds, hear that glorious beep on my cell phone alerting me to a response.
If you can get a significant crowd to follow you during an event, you have instant and direct access to them via the lowest common denominator device (and did I mention this is all free??).
So - What's the EMC World team doing?
So - with cool Tweet name in hand - the next challenge is how to get the word out.
The team came up with some creative ideas...
Naturally they're promoting the 'offering' through the web sites and event collateral. But, they're doing some more innovative stuff too -
The team came up with a small business card like handout to be included in event packets and handed out during registration... Pretty simple stuff - An EMC World logo with a url. Given the simplicity of Twitter - What more would you need to draw attention?
Even cooler - they're working on displaying EMC World Twitter streams on some plasma monitors throughout the venue. Another nice way for attendees to get a sense for the type of information being streamed.
Hash tags will also be a big part... Enabling common tagging and context setting for Twitter users. A look for #EMCWORLD on Hashtags.org suggests this might work well and anticipation is already starting to build.
Of course, we'll have a small army of EMC'ers working the event floor and Twittering their way through day to day activity. We'll be putting an applet up on EMC.com (we've built a news page for all things World) that will be streaming Tweets from the collective contributors. Again - nice way to pull it all together and leverage the information beyond attendees.
I haven't been plugged in to the most recent discussions so am not exactly sure where this one landed - but there was much discussion around some simple give aways through the Twitter feed. Relatively straight forward stuff - come up with a couple of prizes and use Twitter as the vehicle to give them away... Nice way to drive awareness of the tool and increase the reach of the EMCWorld Twitter stream.
All in all - this will be a very interesting experiment. I'm anxious to watch it play out during the next several days... Undoubtedly, we'll get some of it right and will learn ways to improve for next time. Kudos to our eBiz and PR teams for the creative thinking on this. I've said it before - it's exciting to be at the forefront of cultural change and the adoption of Social Media in the enterprise. Even nicer to be part of a team driven to leverage these tools to improve communications and intimacy with our audience.