Hybrid Events

hybrid event is a tradeshow, conference, unconference, seminar, workshop or other meeting that combines a "live" in-person event with a "virtual" online component.

With the growing popularity and cost-effectiveness of virtual events, hybrid events have become a popular way of increasing participation in traditional events at a relatively low cost. They also enable participation by people who might be unable to attend physically due to travel or time zone constraints or through a wish to reduce the carbon footprint of the event. The open, participatory nature of unconferences (e.g., Barcamp) and their focus on sharing content, makes them hybrid events too.

Generally, the virtual component involves an online representation of the live event. For example, online participants might have access to:

  • Live audio or video streaming of keynote speakers or workshops alongside their presentation material (e.g., via Ustream, Livestream, Eventials, Sonic Foundry)

  • *Online presentations (ranging from webcasts to sharing of content via SlideShare)

  • *Hybrid Event Webcast with synchronized slides alongside the live and archived webcast video presentation

  • *Creation of a live commentary or transcript of proceedings (e.g., through Wthashtag, CoverItLive)

  • *Online chat or discussion forum facilities (e.g., through Pathable or moreconference)

  • *Live blogs)

  • *Event photographs (e.g., via Flickr) and video (e.g., via YouTube, Vimeo, Qik)

  • *Integration of other social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Provision of internet access, usually via free Wi-Fi, is normal at hybrid events. As well as allowing a physical event to reach a wider audience, these online tools also provide a means for physical attendees to interact with each other, with the event organisers and with online participants, and for online participants to interact with each other. Some events have featured 'TwitterWalls' (created using applications such as Twitterfall) where Twitter comments about the event are shared with physical attendees.

Event content can also be recorded and made available online to foster further discussions after the event has ended, build out a knowledge portal for event participants, and help market the next year's event by sharing highlights from the current year.

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