Turbo-charged networking and other random thoughts

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Intronetworks

Some things are pretty close to impossible to write about. One of the is the experience of using a "social networking" application (for lack of a better term--see what I mean?) My colleague, Sue Hatch, gave it a good shot in the latest issue of Corporate Meetings & Incentives, but it's just not the same as actually experiencing it.

I got to demo IntroNetworks' program, and it is nothing short of, as we say in Massachusetts, wicked cool. It also was a major hit at the recently held Demo event. As it's described on the Demo blog:

    They offer a social software solution to allow conference (or other event) attendees to register, create a profile, and map other attendees based on similar areas of interest. Here's what DEMO@15 looks like from introNetworks' perspective [click on pic above for a larger image]. Red pushpins represent attendees who have attached a photo or video to their profile. The system also provides an internal messaging system to allow attendees to contact each other to arrange meetings at the event.

A quick Google search shows me that planners are picking up on this one: Among the events using the system are TechConnect 2004, Macromedia MAX 2004, and the 2005 The World Health Care Congress.

I want to use this thing in real life. I really, really do. Bet your attendees would, too. (No, I'm not getting paid to tout this company. I just love their product in the demo form and am eagerly awaiting the chance to use it for a real community, be it hitched to a meeting or not.) I think it's all a part of what Rich is talking about in this post on the TSMI blog, and what Robin Good is caling X Events. We have to stop thinking of conferences as a one-time (or once a year, or whatever) thing, and understand that it can--and should--be just one part of an ongoing conversation.

But, as Rich says, "This is one of those microtrends that may end up capturing entire segments of potential conference attendees before our leaders even pick up on it." Let's not let that happen.

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