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Plancast and Lanyrd are the most significant pieces of innovation introduced recently to the event technology scene.
What makes a technology successful is adoption. MySpace existed before Facebook, but the numbers made the difference. Upcoming existed before Plancast or Lanyrd but they weren't able to seize an evident opportunity (and that is happening quite often recently at Yahoo). Plancast and Lanyrd have now the numbers and they are making a difference.
Twitter played a major role in driving their adoption. I have always maintained that Twitter is event driven (it became popular during an event in fact) and it comes with no surprises that the two services who integrate exquisitely with Twitter leveraged on the power of the chirp.
Well cutting the story short if you are an event planner and your audience is an early adopter you need to be on these two services. If you plan weddings you maybe want to skip to this article instead.
I believe in fact you need to be on both. Provided you have enough time to understand and manage both.
Right Julius I hear you, but what is the difference between the two?
Someone asked the same question on Quora. Lanyrd replied but as you may tell from the answer, there is one substantial difference, the rest is very similar, or is it?
Conference vs Events
Lanyrd themselves differentiated their service in terms of focus. Lanyrd is for conferences, Plancast is for all types of events.
I believe this is holds true, although I am sure Lanyrd will become a tool for more event types. I cannot really see the benefit of focussing only on one kind of events.
Winner: Plancast. Narrow focus is not justifiable in this case, although Lanyrd has been around for less and I do understand that when starting up you need to ficus.
When you join Lanyrd you sign up through your Twitter profile. The services immediately tells you what conferences your contacts on Twitter are attending. A simple as that.
On Plancast you can sign up with Facebook or Twitter. It fetches your contacts from both and you can select/deselect who to follow. You are then prompted to follow 'suggested users' and to subscribe to your favourite topics (or categories as they call them).
Winner: Plancast. The service is definitely more mature and comprehensive. With the latest round of funding Lanyrd received, it is reasonable to expect more in the near future.
On Lanyrd ou can search filtering by location. On Plancast you can set your location, as precise as your postcode.
Winner: Plancast. Accuracy and ease of use.
Adding a Conference/Event
Plancast asks for a basic What, When and Where with optional addition of location and website link. This is somewhat superficial and lacks of important information that may help in understanding the nature of the event.
Lanyrd on the other hand has a much better approach to adding a conference. You can first search for existing conferences to avoid duplicates. You can then go ahead and post your own. Important to note how you can post a conference as a speaker, attendee or event organizer. You can amazingly add a twitter hashtag and twitter account for the conference. This alone makes us, who were talking about the use of hashtags for events as mainstream in 2007, visonaries as opposed to psycho-geeks.
Winner: Lanyrd. Amazing and fantastically well thought
As you would imagine from the section above the different approach to adding an event is reflected in the output product.
If on Lanyrd you can immediately tell the grand organization of information, this is obviously not the case for Plancast where the page is somewhat left to itself.
In terms of interaction with the page there is a substantial difference in the way the two services handle attendance. Plancat allows users to 'count them in' and adds the somewhat 1999 feature of sharing the event to your friends. On the other hand Lanyrd empowers the user, making them able to register as attendees or to simply 'track' an event. Tracking can be compared to following a person on Twitter instead of connecting with them on Linkedin. A bit more light-hearted and definitely opens the doors to virtual attendance. Juicy
Winner: Lanyrd. Why? Read above.
Apps? Really? Are we talking Apps already. Yes we are and app do make a difference.
Again think about Twitter and how the apps ecosystem drove growth. Well enter VIPLi.st.
Well I told you how VIPs are not who you expect them to be anymore. Plancast was lucky enough to share desk with the guys from awe.sm who created vipli.st a great service that helps you track how your event spread and who are the real VIPs, conncetors, the influencers, the nodes - however you want to call them.
More details here:
Lanyrd, well. It's too early for them and I guess they have a smaller office.
Plancast currently features a more thorough service, but Lanyrd has the greatest potential. In terms of social impact, Plancast is definitely a winner as it integrates Facebook and apparently you can't do without Facebook nowadays.
What service should you choose?
Why are you trying to make me angry? 🙂 You shouldn't choose between the two. You should be on both. Provided you have the time to take care of your pages
Make sure to invite your attendees and speakers to join on both and to publish your hashtag and Twitter account. You can check the Plancast and Lanyrd pages for Widgets and Buttons, but you'll be sad to discover these are mostly addressed to attendees. Ideally after reading this post they will develop buttons for event organizers, but I don't want to give away too much as I am expecting them to surprise us. Exciting!