We visited Internet World for the first time this year, curious about this ‘leading’ industry/trade event which has been held annually for the last 19 years. My first thought would have been, however, how come there was no ‘virtual’ element to the event? (Although you can get recordings of the seminars post the event.)
My answer came pretty quickly – Social Media or Social Networking did not get enough of a presence at this event – and as such, the event wouldn’t have gone virtual. But then, this show is big business for the event oranisers as well as the exhibitors and this isn’t something to be ignored.
I have some feedback, but I have tried to remember that our needs at Social Intelligence are different to others and I tried to take some positive points out that you may find very handy, should you decide to visit the event in future.
The internet is worth a reported ¬£100 billion to the UK, and I’m sure it will be heck of a lot more once the UK fully embraces the social element to the internet!
I spent two days at the event, purely because there were sessions I wanted to attend that were happening over both days. My impressions on Day 1 were minimal to say the least and I was pretty disappointed because I was going to try and get some insights into the way social media will be grabbing businesses in the future and to see if there were any fantastic mobile technologies that would be launched that would aid business owners in participating in social media going forward.
I guess my expectations were far too high and I should have gone with the view that this is a TRADE show….and that is exactly the way it felt. From the moment to you walked in the door (in fact, two feet in) you were swamped by pretty ladies in short skirts or young chaps with an eager ¬£ sign in their eyes….as if there was some kind of countdown to the doors opening…..3,2,1…and then they pounced! (If you are in the UK – picture the opening day of a Primark sale on Oxford Street – painfull.) But then that’s a trade show for you!
The element I very quickly decided to focus on was the running of¬† the show. So, I watched how people were responding to the stands, how the organisers facilitated the attendees; how many people were tweeting about the show and of course what each stand was doing to get people to ‘stop by’.
Now this is when it became FUN for me! I started tweeting A LOT (trend #iwexpo) and even had tweet conversations with people in the room I never met. I chose some exhibitors that I was interested in and which would be of help to any of our clients as well as Social Intelligence – and then I tweeted to let the room know how cool they were.
When I needed a bum break (i.e. needed to sit down and gather my energy) – there was a very clever station as you can see above – called the Networking Bar…this was sponsored by Sage Pay. Basically it was like sitting having your sandwich in Hyde Park (very cool). They had astro turf, blankets (if you wanted to picnic properly) and deck chairs…oh, and of course coffee and muffins (¬£5 for both!) But, the clever thing was: “PIMMS O’clock” – a Sage Pay chap would come out and over a megaphone shout that it was PIMMS o’clock and anyone who wanted some could raise their hands! For those of you who don’t know what Pimms is – go here: www.anyoneforpimms.com. Yum.
It was good place to have a coffee meeting or network – if you were up for that. I heard a lot of conversations (hey we were sitting on top of one another!) and it was great to hear people so energised. (PIMMS will do that to you).
I went to speak to:
- the folks at Huddle (collaborative online workspaces) because I had seen their app in Linkedin;
- the european Managing Director (Steve Glanz) at Conduit (who are buying Wibiya by the way) – interesting bespoke browser toolbars
- the team at dotSearch (search marketing business)
What I particularly enjoyed doing was holding a bribery treat competion on Twitter. So, the stands who had the best treats were: Huddle for their Krispy Kremes, Softlayer for their weird colour changing stressballs and dotSearch for their Beers (!)
The organisation of the event as a whole was superb. They had a dedicated audio visual team in each seminar theatre that helped each speaker; all door and seminar door personnel had spanners – so your badge was scanned whenever you entered a room for a talk or even to the show itself (good to know who liked what so that can market even better to you in future). They had a dedicated press area…where you could pop in. I popped in because I was tweeting with the lady and wanted to say hello. Nice crew! A lot of hard work goes into their events and that is something that no-one should dismiss. As long as they take on board the feedback and put everything into the next event in terms of keeping with trends….then I’ll be happy!
All in all – I had a much better Day 2 – but that was also about deciding to not be a moaner and try and take something from the event. I know that really it isn’t an event for us generally (unless they can improve the amount of seating for seminars and increase the social media presence), but it was good to go and see it. If you are a webbie or techie, you will have enjoyed the show, but even if you are a business that hinges on technology it was worth a visit.
You can register now for next year’s show (2012) here.
The end of my visit was marked by my favourite drink = = >
Did you visit the show at all? I’d love to hear what you learnt or got to see that really grabbed your attention. Please comment below and share this post with your social networks.