Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

Location Based Conferences

Photo from Flickr by: Visualist ImagesThe insanity of the South by Southwest crowds and popularity of location-based services (LBSs) such as Foursquare and Gowalla have me thinking about the future of popular conferences and unconferences.

Do we still need the confines of a massive convention center?

SXSW has already outgrown the Austin Convention Center, spilling sessions into neighboring hotels. When the conference takes over the town, why doesn’t the town take over the conference?

We were all glued to our mobile devices and the aforementioned services to track where the parties and people were, why not do the same with the sessions?

When so much value is in the hallway conversations, why not make the streets the hallway?

I realize this may be too insane to imagine for SXSW, but what about your local unconferences?

PodCamp and BarCamp Nashville have just about outgrown the Cadillac Ranch due to attendee numbers.

Why not reserve several neighboring bars, restaurants and cafes? Depending on weather, a city park would also suffice.

Then LBSs could be used to let you know where the people are using awesome services like and SitBy.Us.


Photo from Flickr by: Visualist Images


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  • gavinrichardson

    something like flash mob conferencing.. i'm sure some legislator is going to get very nervous about that very soon

  • Excellent idea. The only fly in the ointment I can think immediately is that bars tend to be protective of their revenue and over-value their physical space. Ever tried hiring a bar for an event? $1000 please plus bar tab. Not all are like this, but it would be interesting to try in, say, London, and see if they would give up their afternoon take for potentially not a lot of drinks sales.

  • For PodCamp Nashville we guarantee a few thousand dollars is spent at the bar, if we don’t meet it, we cover the cost. I should note that we haven’t had that problem.

    Thank god for beer swillin’ social media peeps! :D