Successful Meetings - February 2008 - (Page 26)

Technology Talk > By Michael Goldstein Social Networking Social networking no longer means working a room with your business card. Now it means working a virtual room full of “friends,” in places like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn, with your computer. Not just for search and shopping anymore, the Internet is becoming one big social network. Some people call this the “conversation-based” economy— word of mouth moving at information-superhighway speed. An example is meeting planners passing comments on travel sites. And social networking, also known as social media or Web 2.0 technology, isn’t just for kids or twentysomethings. Some 40 percent of Facebook users are 35 to 55, while two thirds of the 56 million MySpace users are over 25. But there is some truth in the “used by kids” misnomer. Communications via Facebook, YouTube video, podcast, blog, and other social media “are the native tongue to the younger workers in an organization,” notes The Economist. brochure.” As a result, a whole ecosystem of social media relevant to meeting planners has sprung up. This includes blogs, profile pages on social networks, RSS (really simple syndication, which lets you choose what news or info you want sent to you), tweets (instant messages answering the critical “What are you doing?” question), and podcasting (video or audio files to play over your PC or download to your iPod). Then there are video and photosharing sites like YouTube and Flickr; Wikis, collaborative Web pages you can add to, as in Wikipedia, the user-generated online encyclopedia; and widgets, small utilities like Southwest Airlines’ desktop “ding” announcing new fares. “Travel 1.0, when travel planning moved online, was all about prices,” says Fiona Lake Waslander, director of product management at Yahoo! “No longer are you looking for a hotel just based on price, but you’re looking at user reviews, user ratings, and photos.” Key meetings vendors like Marriott and Hilton, destination SOCIAL NETWORKING AND cities like Philadelphia, and airlines like Southwest with its popTHE MEETING PLANNER ular “Nuts about Southwest” blog are jumping on the social media bandwagon with interactive and rich media offerings. Social networking is “about creating connections among Last year, IHG’s Crowne Plaza and InterContinental Hotels users based on their shared interests or a dedicated purchose the virtual community SecondLife to “meet” with meeting pose,” according to The Travel Marketer’s Guide to Social planners (or their avatars). To show its expertise in running large Media and Social Networks, by Cindy Estis Green, published meetings, Crowne Plaza launched “The Place to Meet” island. by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International It wasn’t just an ad—they hosted several virtual meetings in (HSMAI). She adds, “For meeting planners, social media aniSecondLife. Of course, it was also an opportunity to show off mates the story, with rich media and interactive discussion their skylit conference rooms, modern meeting spaces, and creating more color and a more relevant story than a flat palm-tree-filled destinations. So a meeting planner’s site search is now often a “mashup” of video, audio, text comments, photos, and mapping What better way to access social networking sites from MapQuest or Google Earth. And than using your laptop in a cozy hotel bed? You can do it when that meeting’s over (or sometimes with the versatile LapDawg. This comfy, portable stand still in progress), you’re almost guarankeeps a laptop’s heat away from your body and folds sevteed to see a comment on a blog, shared eral ways to work as a laptop tray, laptop stand, bed tray, photos from an event, or perhaps deleand more. $130; gate follies on YouTube. Extra Bytes: Laptop in Bed ILLUSTRATION: BEATA SZPURA 26 FEBRUARY 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - February 2008

Successful Meetings - February 2008
Editor's Note
Trade Shows
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Websites of the Month
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Food & Beverage
On Site
Tools of the Trade
The Rainbow Connection
The CVB in Your Backyard
Welcome to the Webolution
The Rail Deal
Spas with a Sense of Place
Places & Spaces
Mystic, CT.
Hong Kong
Florida’s East Coast
Atlantic City
Maui, Kauai, & Lanai

Successful Meetings - February 2008

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