Review: Event Camp Europe – My experience as a “virtual delegate”

Last week, Event Camp Europe took place in London – and in parallel at a number of remote PODs as well as a virtual event. As much as I would have loved to attend in person, because I know some of the organizers and I was convinced this would be a great learning experience, I could not be there due to other commitments.

However, I logged in to the live stream from my office desk. Let me share with you my experiences and learnings from that “hybrid” event:

  • Technology: I was fascincated by the experience that the streaming technology (Silverlight) provided. Switching to full screen, you could follow quite well what happened on site. They used Twitter as the backchannel for the virtual attendees to comment, ask questions, or just do a virtual “La ola”! Bottomline: Technology-wise, this works.
  • Intensity: Does a virtual event jeopardize your face-2-face meeting: Clearly, no! Maybe it’s just that I am no good at multi-tasking (being male…), but it is very difficult to focus on such an event, with all the distractions you have going on in the office. You pick up bits and pieces of the program – actually more than I expected. But it’s not the same as taking part in a well organized live experience, with a great speaker, where every event element falls in place and creates your experience (lighting, sound, visuals, speaker, the possibility to discuss what you heard directly etc.).
  • Importance of a virtual Master-of-Ceremony (emcee): Emilie Barta did a fantastic job at involving the virtual audience. So, one of the key learnings I had: You need someone like her to make that work. It is a totally different job to facilitate an event on site, and to facilitate the virtual equivalent. Obviously, Emilie has done that many times before, so her performance was professional, engaging, and entertaining at the same time. The attention span of the virtual audience is quite narrow – lose them, they’ll never come back, I guess. So her role was an important one, and I guess she must have been really exhausted by the end of that day…
  • Some technicalities: There were breaks, too, but there was a countdown showing the time remaining until the next session started. Very helpful. The event Twitter hashtag #eceu was communicated many, many times, along with encouragements to join in the discussion, present yourself, give comments – You have to do that, in order to get the audience involved. Discussion on Twitter was extended, when the #engage365 chat discussed the outcome and experience after the event. Quite interesting.

All-in-all, I found the event useful in the sense that it provided an idea of what you can accomplish technically, it provided some information about the cost of a “hybrid” event, about what works and what doesn’t. I cannot evaluate how it went on site, though. There seemed to be some connectivity issues for the delegates on site, but that did not affect the virtual bit of Event Camp Europe, obviously.

Thanks Jenise, Lindsey, Paul, Elling and Ruud for organizing the first Event Camp in London and for bringing that experience to Europe!

2 thoughts on “Review: Event Camp Europe – My experience as a “virtual delegate”

  1. Thank you Michael for your insights into your experience having attended Event Camp Europe ( ) as a virtual attendee. The technology was provided using a Mediasite setup and SonicFoundry servers. Onsite, Saville A/V provided the streaming technology and Metro delivered the Audio Visual components to make this all work. A temporary Internet connection was secured just for the streaming component to make sure that quality was independant of the hotel’s internet connectivity. A great solution for temporary internet was delivered by EthNet UK (suggested to us by Gareth Lloyd from Saville). It worked without a glitch using a (small) satelite reciever on the roof of Down Hall). I know you intended to organise a POD event in Germany and want to thank you for this feedback. We are documenting the onsite, POD and virtual event experience with an ROI survey that we will be mailing out to all the attendees of Event Camp Europe. We will also be documenting the POD experiences in the 5 PODs. Onsite we learned many new insights on connectivity both from organising the event and how connectivity can be organised on a 14th century venue. Something we will all encounter sooner or later in the upcoming hybrid times…

    Best regards, Ruud Janssen @ruudwjanssen

    (PS: I trust your event in Vienna is going well and again appreciate your insights)

    (PPS: and I agree @EmilieBarta was instrumental and worked very hard at engaging the virtual audience…she is a pro at this and recommend her to any hybrid / virtual event organiser to connect with her check out her website here


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