Have you considered what you need to take an event online? Or.., are you just content to watch people’s ‘lives’ (haha) from the sidelines?
Whatever the case, seems almost everyone will try out an online experience, this decade.
WHAT does it entail, you ask.
Before you get an answer, let’s polish up on our understanding of this space. Several terms have been bandied around –virtual space, cyber space and online space. What do they all mean?
- Virtual Space: is described as a 3D computer-generated space.
- Cyber Space: is a concept describing a widespread, interconnected digital technology.
- Online (Digital) Space: is something connected to, served by, or available through a system and especially a computer or telecommunications system (such as the internet).
That said, we’ll go with online space for the purpose of this post.
The online space has always existed. But technology has now made it widely accessible and the pandemic intensified our uptake of it.
Why do events matter?
Events have been there since the times of African, Greek, and Roman civilizations.
Africans celebrated rites of passage, births, weddings, battle victories and dances. Capoeira, a popular sport combining dance, music and martial arts is believed to have its roots in Angola.
Greeks had The Olympics which is centuries old and still on. …And Romans had the gladiator games.
TODAY, events are considered vital tools for corporate (business) and entertainment. They drive the creation of social capital and the exchange of information.
However, the level of detail varies in each event, meaning that each one requires different tactics to go online.
So, here’s how to take an event online considering the pandemic.
#1. Accurate, verifiable data
Even with public health restrictions easing up eventually, strict precautions must continue to be taken. A future event checklist might look like this.
It’s a load.
Implications for in-person invites could mean that you’d have to be responsible for the treatment, if someone falls ill at your event or, you’d be required to fork out for quarantine bills. Also imagine, doing this for a huge event with 500+ guests? What a nightmare!
FACT: W.H.O. projects a return to normalcy in 2022.
Until the government gives clear guidelines, it’ll be prudent to hold off on in-person gatherings of more than 10 people (this is the maximum currently allowed for weddings and funerals).
Before you go online, have a detailed plan backed by accurate, verifiable data. Figure out viable timings for high traffic and audience availability. For broadcast, work with what’s viable for everyone. There’s no point live streaming on YouTube when most of your audience prefers Facebook.
#2.Select the right applications & audio-visual partners
Get the best-suited applications for your event. If skeptical, do some research to understand them and how they work. If at first it seems daunting, don’t give up. Keep at it until it becomes second nature to you.
The popular social network apps in Kenya are: TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. For meetings, ZOOM or GoToMeeting are mainstays.
Remember, just because an event is online doesn’t mean people will show up. Market it on all your networks and share access details in good time.
Another thing: Identify a credible audio-visual partner, one who understands these productions. Share details with them about the type of event you’re planning. A concert is different from a wedding, which is different from a football tournament or an awards ceremony.
The venue, décor, catering, technical equipment, could be easy to work out. However, some venues and suppliers might have their own special requirements (probably brought on by the crisis). More than ever, be strict by enforcing contracts.
#3.Plan for contingencies
Whilst online events aren’t new, this is still cutting edge for most people. Use a detailed checklist to track issues.
- Do you have stable WI-FI connection OR, adequate data bundles?
- If the power goes off, do you have a backup plan?
- If there’s a presentation, are the slides visible and legible?
- Is the lighting and coloring, OK?
- Are the mics tested?
- Have you done run-throughs?
- Do you have enough recording material?
Troubleshoot and inform those actively involved, of their role (s) if a ‘situation’ arises.
Most important: Don’t lose focus on the experience you want to deliver.
Whether in-person or online (more so, online), you can’t negate the value of people.
The nature of the planned interaction must be authentic because they’re at the center of the experience, and it is for them that the space has been created.
Going online isn’t easy, neither is it quantum physics. Just master the tips on how to take an event online. To be a pro, you must experience it all then, figure out what works and amplify it.
Start simple by obtaining accurate, verifiable data, selecting the right applications and partners, and planning for contingencies.
In the next post, we’ll focus on Event Design for Virtual Spaces.
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