1. Create a blogger’s hub. Is your goal to have bloggers and “tweeps” (people sending “tweets” via Twitter) interacting with virtual attendees? Is it to provide journalists with a place to take notes and create new blog posts? Is it to boost the visibility of your conference topic or hashtag? Is it to provide leading bloggers and “tweeps” the ability to share their insights, thoughts and opinions in real time?
2. Decide how you will measure the success of your blogger’s hub. Will it be on the number of blog posts about your conference? Will it be the number of times your conference hashtag is mentioned in Twitter?
3. Put the hub seating area in your general session room close to the stage without obstructing other attendees. The World Innovation Forum 2009 provided a second level in the main theater for its blogger’s hub. It was visible to all, yet provided some nice amenities for those tweeting and blogging about the conference.
4. Provide plenty of electrical outlets for the bloggers’ laptops. If you have 10 bloggers, they will each need their own electrical connection.
5. In addition to electrical outlets, offer small cocktail tables, seats, and light. Meeting planners often dim the lights during general sessions. Your bloggers and “tweeps” need light to see their keyboards.
6. Ensure that your blogger’s hub has ample wi-fi access. You may need to purchase additional wi-fi access so that your bloggers can access the Internet easily. You’ll want to provide as much dedicated wireless signal as possible to ensure adequate bandwidth.
7. Set up a Twitter kiosk in foyer and tradeshow areas. Using LCD projectors, laptops connected to the Internet and Twitter, and large screens, project the Twitter stream showing your hashtag for all to see. You can also have staff stationed at the kiosk to teach attendees how to use Twitter.
8. Provide a remote participation guide.
Source: Jeff Hurt, director, education & engagement, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, firstname.lastname@example.org