Ian Betteridge, Technovia: Demo is getting a vast amount of attention because [there] are a vast number of bloggers there, all pouring what must amount to thousands of words onto the Internet about it. I don’t know what the organisers have done to encourage this, but there’s a lesson for a lot of companies - if you’re having a conference, encourage live blogging.
Absolutely spot on, Ian. I'd not heard of DEMO until I started seeing posts show up in my RSS feed, starting with Renee Blodgett's then Robert Scoble's, and then the floodgates opened. Thankfully there's BloggingDEMO.com - an indispensable blog to keep up with the volume and keep track of what's going on! Plus DEMOletter, the event blog itself.
We saw similar things with two conferences just last month - live blogging, and lots of follow-up posts, from the Blog Business Summit in Seattle and the New Communications Forum 2005 in Napa, California.
If I were organizing a conference right now, at the very top of the list of communication channels that I'd be thinking about in my communication planning would be blogs and RSS. Yes, I'd also be thinking of all the traditional ways to communicate - the website, the press releases, the flyers, etc - but top of my list are the new media channels.
And not only blogs and RSS purely from the conference organizer's viewpoint - I'd want to ensure that the 'blogging infrastructure' is such that anyone who attends can just go right ahead and blog, wherever and whenever they want. That primarily means wireless network availability so you can just fire up your laptop, get connected and away you go. I was a presenter at the Napa event, and we had that infrastructure (well, except when it rained and the internet got wet: teeny inside joke there...).
There can't be any doubt that this new way to get people talking and buzzing about your event - not only the formal stuff but also the informal, chit-chat type things that happen: see Renee's blog for examples - has no parallel. It is the most effective way to rapidly spread the word.