5 things you must have to attend conferences from your couch

By | June 22, 2008

Essential items to attend a conference from home

I recently posted about being upset that I was missing the third annual Podcasters Across Borders (PAB) conference. Unfortunately circumstances did not allow me to head to Kingston, Ontario to re-connect with my fellow podcasting brothers and sisters from home, I miss them.

Luckily in this day and age we are privileged enough to have simple tools to experience the next best thing to being there.

The picture in this post illustrates how I was able to create my own PAB control center. I could watch and listen to the conference, see pictures  during and after the sessions, interact with the attendees, and even ask a question to a speaker (thanks Eden).

Here’s five things you must have to attend conferences from your couch:

  1. Ustream live video: Ustream is a free video streaming service that allows you to broadcast, in real-time, straight from your computer. I need to give a special mention and thank you to Chris Penn for setting this up.
  2. Meebo Chat Room: Meebo is one of a few different free chat room hosts. It is very simple to set and to embed directly into your blog, like Chris did on Marketing Over Coffee. I embedded the chat room into Dave Made That (as seen above). This way I could view the photo slide show as I interacted with the users. The chat also was a “back channel” for the attendees to interact with one another, and with the visitors who were not fortunate enough to be there in person.
  3. Flickr Slideshow: Flickr is the most popular photo hosting service online. It’s free to use with a Yahoo account, plus you can pay for a pro account now, and upload videos too. Although, I’m not sure why you would want to with countless other free video hosting sites out there. I pay for a pro account to have plenty of space to host my images. Photos “tagged” with PAB2008 automatically feed into the slideshow. I used the following code to get this to work:
    • <iframe src=”http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?group_id=&user_id=&set_id=&tags=pab2008” align=”middle” frameborder=”0″ height=”300″ scrolling=”no” width=”325″></iframe>
      <small>Tag your photos: <strong>PAB2008</strong> </small>
  4. Twhirl: This is a Twitter client that runs on Adobe Air. Twhirl takes my Twitter account and makes it available on my desktop, without the need of a browser to view it in. This is very handy to have multiple items open at the same time. It updates in real time (with a slight lag), so I can see when I have new messages, or when there’s new messages from PAB.
  5. Friends: What’s the point of all of this interaction if you don’t have friends at these conferences? Having friends there sure helps when you need a camera’s audio repaired (thanks Chris), or you have a comment for a speaker (thanks Eden), or you simply want to see how everybody looks this year (beautiful by the way!).

Feel free to ask me any questions should you have them. If you have items you can’t live without when attending conferences from your couch please let me know.

See you next year for sure Pabsters. :-)

[tags]pab2008, pab08, podcasters across borders, barginista, marketing over coffee, ustream, flickr, meebo, virtual conferences, chris penn[/tags]

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