Friday, 5 November 2010

Local Government online conference

A large crowd attending the final panel of ROF...Yesterday I participated in day 2 of the Local Government Improvement & Development's Local by Social online conference that started on 3rd November and wraps up on 9th.
I was privileged to be asked to facilitate one of the 30 conference themes on the subject 'Leaving but not Lost' - the impact of knowledge loss to the public sector as a result of the cuts.

I was bowled over by the event. This is, apparently, one of the biggest virtual events of its kind, ever. The stats alone after just 2 of the 6 days are impressive. Wembley Conference Centre would have been pleased with 955 people registered for the conference.

  • 455 visitors yesterday alone
  • 6140 page views yesterday
  • 189 individuals posted a contribution

That last figure is the most impressive. As Michael Norton, the driving force behind the conference, says "Most online discussions follow the 1% rule. This states that 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing. So 19% contributing is a huge amount".

The experience was excellent too. The was a real buzz as discussions were underway. At one point I couldn't keep up with all the postings and great ideas flying in. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but was struck by how much like a real conference it was, but better.
I loved the fact that that I could dip in and out of conference rooms without missing anything. At one point I think I was in three conference rooms simultaneously.

Of course there is also a valuable record of all every idea and contribution posted, for others to see and use at a future time. I'd love to know what the total travel, time and venue savings over a traditional conference were. I'd guess hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The best thing of all - I didn't have to small talk to over a luke-warm cup of urn stewed tea.

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