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How Facebook Will Change Events For Good

By Julius Solaris

The keynote of F8, the Facebook developer conference, just happened. Events will never be the same again.

You know how cautious I am in commenting news, however what Mark Zuckerberg announced at F8 is something that deserves to be commented on and discussed immediately with fellow event professionals.

First of all let's recap the relevant announcements made:

  • Live API. Facebook announced opening its Live API to developers. Some partners will initially have access to it. Zuckerberg showed a drone livestreaming the keynote live on Facebook.
  • Facebook Surround 360. This is a 360, 3D video capture system. It is a special camera specifically made to capture three dimensional video. The news is that it is an open source project.
  • 10 Year Roadmap. Zuckerberg announced the vision for the next ten years, that included 3D livestreaming and augmented reality.
How Facebook Will Change Events For Good

Why Does is Matter?

One of the most important items to look at and that most commentators are ignoring is the role of social media in events. Up until now Twitter has been the most event-centric social network. Due to its real time nature, Twitter has been the go-to resource to learn about events online.

With the Periscope acquisition, Twitter jumped into livestreaming. Since the acquisition, little has changed in the app and the company troubles with growth affected its overall strategy with events. Too little, too late.

What Mark Zuckerberg said is that the future of social media is live video. They created a product that is very integrated with their platform and offers very advanced capability. The open API makes sure the product will be very usable in a myriad of environments and with a growing number of hardware solutions.

If you work in the event industry and use social media for your events, you should start considering live video now. The future of social looks very visual and live video seems to be the protagonist of the next few years. If you look at one of the strongest social networks in terms of growth at the moment, Snapchat, one of the most exciting features for events is the ability to collect recorded video from attendees.


This Is Not Marketing, This is Social

If you look at what Facebook announced as a marketing opportunity, you are missing out on the bigger picture. Facebook is creating a suite of tools to connect audiences from all over the world on one platform. It is taking away the crankiness and awkwardness from hybrid events.

Zuckerberg is telling you, event professionals, that you can now rely on the power of the billion+ users of Facebook to make the content of your event travel on the Interweb. He wants the experience to be as realistic as possible (Facebook Surround 360).

It looks like within the next 10 years we will laugh at how ridiculous holograms looked as we will be able to attend events live as if we are sitting in the actual room, or have the keynote present in our living room.

This is a change in what social media will look like rather than a livestreaming stunt.

So What Does The Future Look Like?

I am skeptical about virtual reality. As it is today, it makes me want to throw up after 1 minute using it. Having said that the commitment Facebook is showing is unprecedented. And Facebook is not Google. While Google has killed many of its most innovative projects, Facebook is going all in.

I expect devices to develop very quickly in the next two years. I expect virtual reality sets to have live capabilities and to make attendees participate in real time from the room. At this point networking and education at events will be redefined forever.

It is one thing to add a static camera in a room and say that remote audiences are involved. It is another to create three dimensional experiences where remote attendees are part of the room, can meet other attendees, have preferred seats and listen to the performers as if they were in the front row.

The big news is that the video technology is now open sourced. The community will be able to chime in and work collectively on growing capabilities. This was one of the strongest assets of Twitter (the community, despite it never been open) that helped it's growth in its first 3 years. The community makes things grow fast.

How Do I Get Ready?

You don't have to change anything in the way you do your social today. But you need to start looking at Live, livestreaming tools in general and specifically Crowdstreaming, our top trend for 2016, and the future of social media.

There are quick wins in using Live to engage with your event audience, give them access to performers or special areas of your event. These are great tools to market your event better, yes. Your attention though should be strategically positioned to look at the bigger picture.

You should ask yourself how should I design my event to include Live video? How can I get attendees to participate? What are the types of content I can stream live?

Spend the next few months studying all these new platforms, we'll do our best to give you the tools to understand it.

In Conclusion

The announcements Facebook made at F8 make it one of the strongest social networks for events. The opportunities for event professionals are endless. This is a paradigm shift in terms of the role of social media within live events. Attendees in the future will be able to connect easily online and their social interaction will be facilitated through technology.

It is an exciting time to be part of the event industry. Go and make great things!

about the author

Julius Solaris
Julius Solaris is the editor of EventManagerBlog.com, he is an international speaker, author and consultant.
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