Posted by: Dennis Shiao | March 16, 2011

Focus Roundtable Summary: Virtual Events and Digital Communities #FocusRT

Focus Roundtable Summary: Virtual Events and Digital Communities


I participated in a Focus Roundtable discussion on the next generation of virtual events and digital communities.  Before the session, I joked on Twitter that the panel had so much insight to share, that if I put them on my roof, their knowledge would power my house. And let me tell you, the panel was electrifying.


  1. Moderator: Shannon Ryan, Focus (@brandrelevance)
  2. Michael Doyle, Virtual Edge Institute (@virtualedge)
  3. Paul Salinger, Oracle (@psalinger)
  4. Dennis Shiao, INXPO (@INXPO)
  5. Dannette Veale, Cisco (@dveale)

2011 Trends – Digital Events & Communities

The panelists highlighted three key trends:

  1. Growth and interest in hybrid events
  2. Creation of communities around events
  3. Integration of social networks into events, whether they’re physical, digital or hybrid

Dannette highlighted ways in which Cisco Live and Networkers Virtual leveraged content throughout the year (e.g. Ask The Expert sessions) to drive community interest.  I highlighted the importance of dedicated “community managers” to foster and grow communities, while Michael warned that while communities are great, it can be challenging for corporations to build and scale.

Paul introduced his notion of sequencing (e.g. when the event concludes, what do we want attendees to do next?) and noted that event strategy should be around “total engagement” from “interaction to interaction”, across all channels (e.g. face-to-face, digital, hybrid, etc.).

How to Make Your Event’s Content Relevant

The Twitter audience did a great job capturing some of the key points:

Cece (@csalomonlee) quoted Dannette, “Don’t forget the basic items for your #virtual event – don’t boil the ocean..KISS (keep it simple stupid)” #FocusRT”

Lauren (@LaurenonFocus) quoted Paul, “Relevant content depends on how you’re engaging a remote attendee vs. a live attendee”

Dave (@VelChain) agreed with Dannette, “@dveale Like the recommendation of tagging virtual content to improve relevance. #focusrt”


While we were able to address one or two more questions, my conclusion (as the roundtable drew near) was that the time flew by – and that we could have easily talked for another 3 hours without looking at the clock.  It was great to be part of the roundtable and to see the activity on Twitter as the discussion unfolded. We’ll head over to FOCUS (topic: Focus Marketing RT) to answer questions that we didn’t have time to address.

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