Event Trends: Getting Back to Our Roots
But doing it the high-tech wayby Lara McCulloch-Carter | Published in April 2010 Columns | event trends | technology | Twitter
But doing it the high-tech way
Remember the days that we used to talk to our neighbors? When walking next door to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar was, well… normal? Street parties? Thing of the past. Friendly conversations in the front yard? Meh, simply an interference with much more important things (like checking emails). Maybe you’re reading this Event Solutions magazine from the comfort of your farmhouse in Smallville, but for the rest of us, neighborhood connections have been rapidly replaced by online relationships with people from all over the globe, formed while we lounge on the cushy couches in our living rooms.
What if I told you that with every trend comes an anti-trend? Welcome a new breed of sites classified as Location-Based Social Networking. Using GPS technology from your cell phone, sites like Gowalla.com and Foursquare.com pinpoint precisely where you are so you can use this information to “check in” to places of interest. The point? To find out if anyone you’re connected with is in your area. Discover places to see and things to do, based on friend recommendations. If you’re traveling to a new city or foreign country, there’s no need to feel like a tourist again. Discover spots that only locals know about and, while you’re there, connect with locals in your circle of friends and followers. You may even find someone who will tell you where to buy the best eggs in town.
What this means for business
Business owners, event planners and exhibitors understand the power of this technology.
Imagine this: You arrive in Poughkeepsie, NY and check into your hotel using Foursquare. The application notifies you that there’s a special offer in your area. You click on the offer and learn that Acme Yogurts has offered you a 2-for-1 coupon. Great for you; you love yogurt. Great for Acme Yogurts; they now have a customer.
Imagine this: You go to your favorite rental store and use Foursquare to check in every time. Eventually, you unlock a mayor badge (this basically means that you’ve been to that rental store more than anyone else using Foursquare). The rental store can announce that whoever becomes mayor (that’s you) gets 20 percent off of all rentals for as long as they’re mayor. Great for you; you get 20 percent off and some recognition. Great for the rental store; They know who’s been to their establishment and how many times they’ve visited (among other great statistics) and they are able to recognize loyal customers.
Imagine this: You have a booth at a huge conference. You don’t have a massive budget but you do have big ideas. You use Twitter, Facebook, your website, email blasts or whatever to announce that the first person to come to your booth and check in using Foursquare wins a new iPad. Great for the winner; he or she gets an iPad. Great for the exhibitors; they get traffic to their booth.
We’re getting back to our roots, it’s just that we’re using new tools and technologies to do it. Social media is not a hindrance to connections; it’s actually a conduit. So, create your account, build your network and be a good neighbor.