I just returned from Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Conference, which was awesome. I learned a ton, met some great new people and enjoyed being back in the association media community. I was also lucky to hang out with cool friends like Monica Bussolati, who thought we should experiment with Meerkat and Periscope to livestream parts of the conference. I personally am a horrible photographer and even worse videographer, so I was reluctant, but I decided to take one for the team and we got meta and livestreamed each other’s livestream of the tweet-up in the expo hall (that is such a nerdy sentence it almost sounds dirty). Periscope allows you to save your broadcasts to your phone’s camera roll, which you can then upload to YouTube–which means the whole world gets to enjoy my incredibly bad quality video of not only the tweet-up but of Monica’s spontaneous new invention, the Tweetup Crawl. Heads up, event planners–you need to start incorporating this into your exhibitor offerings!
While Association Media & Publishing embraced the new technology by using Periscope to livestream some of the sessions at their conference, some organizations aren’t as enthusiastic about the new technology and seem to be grappling with “do as I say, not as I do” by using it themselves while banning members from using it at the same events. For instance, the PGA experimented with Periscope during a recent event, yet when a golf blogger did the same, the association revoked her media credentials. The blogger received mixed messages from different staff at the organization–the communications director telling her that they don’t fully enforce regulations prohibiting media from using livestreaming apps, then another official approached her saying that her credentials had been revoked for violating their rules about media using livestreaming apps. She appealed and tried to have a conversation with communications officials to help work with them to have a constructive dialogue on new media communications, but as of the date that post was published, she had not yet heard back from them.
The world of association social media today feels light-years different than it did five years ago. I feel like I spent a solid decade of my career fighting what felt like an uphill battle trying to convince people that social media was something associations should embrace, not fight. Now, social media is so mainstream in the association world that all that time spent fighting seems kind of like a dream that never happened. While in some ways this is great, this PGA example makes me wonder how many more associations are talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to social media, especially with regard to new stuff like Periscope. For instance, associations themselves may decide it’s cool to livestream events, but may not think it’s so cool if attendees stream, record and distribute that same content to the world, for free.
Where is the line between good publicity for an event and being smacked by a speaker for violating the agreement that content would not be recorded or distributed outside of the event venue? I know from past experience that it was hard enough to keep attendees from recording video or taking photos of speakers who insisted that no video or photos be allowed; I can only imagine the fun trying to also monitor Meerkat, Periscope, Twitter, YouTube and other channels for livestreams and/or recorded livestreams of those events. Are associations that are incorporating these new tools into their communications and marketing plans still trying to hold members at bay when it comes to new ways of attending and experiencing events? And how can they appropriately draw those lines, when necessary, without looking like hypocrites?
How is your association handling the advent of livestreaming apps? Are you ignoring them or embracing them? How are you handling attendees using them at your events? Has your organization addressed livestreaming in its social media guidelines?