In October last year I was invited to create an online audience experience for the Nordic Nations' annual conference Arts and Audiences being held in Reykjavik, Iceland by the host organisations Audiences Norway and the DCAI (Danish Centre for the Arts and Interculture). Both organisations had worked with me previously as they are partner members of the Audiences Europe Network where I have been a digital audience adviser and content producer since 2011.
For Arts and Audiences we used many social technologies in the final event delivery. With the live-stream they wanted to engage that audience as an entities in their own right. One audience attending at the venue and one not able to attend the venue in person but wanting to take part. To be there or not to be there, that is the question.
The human connection is essential in the creation of experience. Its not the apps its the people posting and for a live-stream to succeed I believe the people hosting are key to the experience too.
The provision of watching a live-stream from experience and anecdotally is not a comparable option to attending 'in the flesh' or as I have come to refer to it, being 'on the ground'. 'Sitting' on the livestream can be a lonely experience. You have to physically set yourself aside and use headphones, especially if you are at work in an office environment. You have to be separate to listen out loud. You don't get to chat to fellow delegates, you don't get a goodie/swag/bonus bag and you don't get the change of scenery. A change is as good as a rest so the adage goes. You also get resigned to the back of the auditorium to watch from the sidelines. Long camera shots, zoomed in head and shoulder shots, picture in picture slides presented in a faux news reporting style crossed with an agonising realtime PowerPoint. Then there is the question of audio, picture quality and buffering speeds.
It was a dialogue along these lines that formed the foundation of the Arts and Audience's Digital Audience Experience. It became clear that a new lexicon was essential to establish a common understanding of the experience we were trying to achieve. IE. Not the above! We didn't want to keep reiterating what the DAEx (Digital Audience Experience) wasn't.
Finally, and above all the Arts and Audiences team were insistent that there should never be a "Be Back Soon" holding slide… ever.
These screen shots were taken only minutes apart as I watched the TEDxBaltimore event a few weeks ago.
Great speakers, but also a perfect illustration to why a continuity studio is so valuable.
- The Event - A programmed 2 days of conference speakers with breakout workshops and smaller discussions following a module theme. There were 4 modules, each had a keynote speaker, a case study presentation and a selection of theme related breakouts.
- The Audiences - Ticket holders who turn up physically or digitally
- 'On the Ground' - Ticket holders' environment for those who travel to the venue to attend
- 'In the Cloud' - Ticket holders' environment for those who attend online
- Camera to Cloud - the technology infrastructure delivery expectation required from the Livestream provider, including vision mixing, camera operation and audio channel.
- Continuity Studio - the social technology hub of the event 'on the ground’, the eyes and ears for the audience ‘in the cloud’.
- Bloggers Lounge - the social media hub of the event, providing a working space with power, water and wifi to ‘on the ground’ attendees to engage with the ‘in the cloud’ networks.
- Live-streamed Linear Event Path - A predefined simplified event program offered to the audience 'in the cloud' providing an optimised produced event experience.