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What can we learn from amplified events?

Brian Kelly was the co-chair of UKOLN’s annual Institutional Web Management Workshop, IWMW 2010 which was held at the Univerity of Sheffield in the UK on 12-14 July 2010. In addition to the 170+ participants at the event a remote audience viewed the live streaming video of the plenary talks, browsed the speakers’ slides which were hosted on Slideshare and participated in the ‘back channel’ discussions on Twitter and Coveritlive. There was event an online barcamp which was held alongside the event barcamps which provided an opportunity for informal ad hoc presntations and discusisons to be arranged. Such event amplification, to use the term coined by Lorcan Dempsey and described in a Wikipedia article on Amplified conferences, exploits the potential of WiFi networks, which are widely available across many University campuses, and the popularity of mobile devices, such as smartphones, PDAs and other devices with WiFi capabilities. Amplified event also appear to be particularly appropriate at a time when institutions and individuals are concerned about the environmental impact associated with travel to events and when financial cuts in the public sector are resulting in difficulties in obtaining funding to travel to events. But can amplified events rally provide a useful and scaleable solution to such concerns? How should organisations address the risks of, effectively, outsourcing the event amplification infrastructure to Social Web services with whom there are no formal contractual agreements? Is it appropriate to make use of Social Web services, with their emphasis of the individual, to support institutional objectives? And what of the user who may feel that use of devices at an event is distracting and perhaps also rude? This seminar will explore these issues and provide advice for those wishing to host amplified events ​
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