IMEX America, which describes itself as “America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events,” took place October 9-11, 2012 in Las Vegas.
I didn’t attend the event, but noticed that 20+% of my Twitter #eventprofs friends were there. I knew about their attendance from their tweets, but also received additional “color” via the photos, videos, quotes, observations and shout-outs that they posted (on Twitter).
So even though I wasn’t anywhere near Sin City, checking the #imex12 hash tag during the day yielded the next best thing: feeling as if I were. I was able to see who was meeting up with whom, which organizations were there exhibiting and what the popular nightspots were.
Here are 10 ways Twitter helps “remote attendees” experience the sights and sounds of the on-site experience.
1) Take in the sights.
Visiting #AbuDhabi #booth1448! #IMEX12 http://t.co/0Tr97ykp—
IMEX Social Team (@IMEXSocialTeam) October 09, 2012
Images tell a story. It’s hard to imagine “following” an event on Twitter via words (text) alone. The images of attendees, exhibitors, speakers and the show floor give us a sense of the event’s character and personality. In addition, imagery adds to the feeling of “being there.”
2) Discover the key themes.
I don’t need an industry publication to tell me about the key themes of this year’s event, because it’s all right there in the tweet stream. Whether Twitter users share their own opinions or a quote from the keynote presentation, the tweet stream is the leading indicator of the event’s key topics.
3) Make new connections.
You’re sure to find interesting people at the event, by way of the tweets they’re sharing. You may choose to follow selected folks and they may decide to follow you back. In addition, by following the event’s hash tag and getting involved, you’re bound to pick up some followers by way of your interactions. I once attended a physical event and made new connections exclusively on Twitter. That’s right, we “met” on Twitter, but not face to face (it’s sad).
4) Gain nuggets of wisdom.
"Be sure to have an emergency plan ready to act on. It is critical to know what to do and who to call if the unexpected happens" #IMEX12—
Cvent, Inc. (@cvent) October 09, 2012
Miss out on a Sunday’s worth of NFL action? It’s OK, you can still watch the highlights that night. It’s similar with events: by reading the quotes shared on Twitter, you still get the nuggets of wisdom (from presenters) and get a feel for what particular sessions were all about.
5) Find exhibitors who provide solutions you may need.
Hope everyone is enjoying #imex12 so far. Don't forget to check out Brisbane on #stand841. Our city has grown and we want to show it off!—
BM Convention Bureau (@brismarketingCB) October 09, 2012
For popular booths at physical shows, you may have to wait in line to speak to an exhibitor sales rep. Many of these same exhibitors are online (on Twitter), posting news and inviting on-site attendees to come visit their booth. If you’d like to obtain more information from an exhibitor, engage with them on Twitter – chances are they’ll respond back and get you connected to the right people.
6) Interact with onsite attendees by answering their questions.
@kikilitalien @sgiarde Do you know? RT @meg_leonard: Anyone aware if #ASAE has a booth at #IMEX12? Help appreciated!—
Deirdre Reid (@deirdrereid) October 09, 2012
Whether you’re 50 or 5,000 miles away, you can still be a valuable resource to the on-site attendees. How? By answering questions they might have. Provide a meaningful answer and you’ll likely pick up a few followers, too.
7) Learn about important industry news and announcements.
Elite Meetings Launches Lead Streamlining Initiative at #IMEX12. elitemeetings.com/press/.—
EliteMeetings.com (@EliteMeetings) October 09, 2012
Whether it’s an award, an exhibitor product announcement or news of a new industry partnership, chances are you’ll hear about it on Twitter.
8) Watch live video from the show floor.
Interviewing @meetmrholland in Vancouver Booth 231 at #IMEX12 - INSANE! new.livestream.com/accounts/71565…—
KiKi L'Italien (@kikilitalien) October 09, 2012
Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about the live video interviews that were being conducted from IMEX America’s show floor.
9) Listen to a show’s podcasts as well.
Meetings Podcast, hosted by Mike McAllen and Jon Trask, was the official podcaster for IMEX America ’12. And how did I know that a new episode was up on the site? On Twitter, of course!
10) Discover recaps of the show’s happenings.
IMEX America 2012 Highlights: MPI Smart Monday bit.ly/VKxhi8 #eventprofs #mpi #IMEX2012—
Executive Oasis Intl (@executiveoasis) October 10, 2012
A great complement to the “Twitter commentary” are blog summaries that can go beyond 140 characters. Here’s an example of a great daily recap published by Anne Thornley-Brown on the Cvent blog.
I thought I’d conclude this post in 140 characters (or less):
Mastering my FOMO (fear of missing out). I'm not at #imex12, but following the tweets plays tricks on the mind (in a good way)—
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao) October 10, 2012
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