Social Media and the First-time Attendee

January 14, 2010

I recently attended the PCMA Convening Leaders conference in Dallas, TX. I was a first time attendee, but I was not your average first-timer. Instead of walking into a reception where I didn’t know anyone, I was welcomed in the hotel lobby by a group of four friends. These friends, two of which were also first-timers, were people that I met on Twitter. Having connected with them a year ago, we have gotten to know each other, collaborated on projects, shared knowledge and become friends. Having made these connections through online networking, I was able to attend the conference already knowing people. While I had met two of them face-to-face, I had never been in the same room with the other two, yet they greeted me like old friends.

Having been in the industry for a number of years, I knew other attendees from attending other events. However, when I thought it about, I was first exposed to them through the various meetings industry listserves that are powered by Google Groups. As a first-time attendee, I “knew” over 30 people at a conference that I had never previously attended.

Whether you are using tools like Twitter or Facebook or simply have a discussion board for your attendees to interact, incorporating social media into your event, can help make first-time attendees like like industry veterans.