Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Having an Event? Here's an Easy Social Media Trick.

I'm a new Clary Shirky groupee, thanks to TED so it isn't a surprise that I bought his book, Here Comes Everybody, (on Half.com since I'm still job searching and my cash flow is challenged). I'm just about 30 pages in and he's writing about Coney Island's Mermaid Parade and the photographs, taken by a variety of folks, that were uploaded onto Flickr (and yes, you should check it out, think of it as a photographic search engine and please note that I'm not the only Shirky groupee.)

Clay is making the point that an institutional dilemma exists since "the minimum costs of being an organization...are relatively high, certain activities may have some value but not enough to make them worth pursuing in any organized way." Then along came new social tools like Flickr, which are "altering this equation by lowering the costs of coordinating group action."

He points out that Flickr didn't have the funds to identify the event or coordinate photographers. (Also it really isn't their focus or function.) But photographers of the Mermaid Parade, when they uploaded their photos to Flickr, tagged them with the event's name, making it easy to find these pictures.

So if I'm managing an event, I would be wise to include a Flickr tag in my publicity materials so that anything posted to Flickr or any other social media site has a good chance of being readily accessible after the event by interested audiences. (Puts an interesting spin on naming conventions as well, doesn't it?) Most importantly, think what my event committee and I can do with that reconnaissance for creating future publicity, improving the event and enlisting volunteers!

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