Audience participation / interaction / community in large online events?
April 18, 2020 5:34 AM   Subscribe

Have you taken part in any online events with large groups (say, 300 to 30,000 people) that did interesting things to create a sense of participation / interaction / community among the people there? I'd love to hear about that! (Or about things you haven't seen, but would like to)

I ask because I'm helping some folks design an online conference: Lots of super-great speakers, talking on interesting topics, for a general interest audience. We want to make it feel like a "real conference" and not just a passive experience. We want people to feel like they are there with other people, not just alone watching content. (The conference will mostly be on facebook live. We may also have Zoom meetings)

I'm really interested in ideas people have or have seen to do this. Ideas from conferences are welcome, but I'm also interested in what people have seen in other areas: dance parties, classes, meditation groups, whatever, as examples for our group to use as sources of inspiration and ideas.
posted by ManInSuit to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Eric Whitacre does a virtual choir with lots of compositions and images of people as they sing together and he conducts their performance.

Three Blue One Brown did a class live streamed on quadratic equations and a stunning 140,000 people showed up to participate.

Both of these are available easily searchable on YouTube.
posted by effluvia at 7:20 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Choir!Choir!Choir! does singalongs; they post the schedule on fb. Right now they call it Choir!entine. Just 2 guys, but it feels participatory. They post lyrics ahead of time.

I do International Folk Dance; there are zoom classes, generally not beginner level. Folk Arts Center of New England and East European Folklife Center (EEFC) post schedules and links.

Great question, looking forward to more answers.
posted by theora55 at 7:55 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

and to more specifically answer your question, every zoom session starts with people asking the same old How Do I questions. Find or make a 3 minute overview of how to connect, establish audio and video, raise hand, use chat, etc. The chat sidebar can be super useful, side conversation is a great place for questions. Make the video really quick and just highlights, with a link to more in-depth help. Most people can find stuff, it's knowing what is available they need and how the particular conference will use the tools.

I attended a training that was meh, but they used zoom well - 2 presenters, so someone was always monitoring chat, answering questions in chat or feeding questions to the presenter. Presenters need to know how to manage muting and unmuting audio. Unmuted group audio is painful noise.

Make and use powerpoints and short videos; more than a few minutes of talking heads is not great, so bring in short bursts of charts, pictures, all that stuff. Good powerpoints are way more difficult to create than people think. Take breaks, encourage people to get up and move. Humor works, but if it's too subtle, it tends to get lost.

And, the old saw Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em. Tell 'em. Tell 'em what you told 'em. is an old saw because it's accurate AF.
posted by theora55 at 8:06 AM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Online conference I just attended created a “hallway” track in Zoom, staffed by an organizer who encouraged interactions as well as tech support person to provide 1 on 1 help. They also scheduled lunch and dinner in the “hallway.” Helped to provide the serendipities of a in-person conference.
posted by Jesse the K at 4:51 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

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