On Friday I attended my first User Group with Public-i at the Hallam Conference Centre in London. We had a brilliant turnout with around 20 of our clients being represented and the web communications manager from the Royal Holloway, University of London, Danny Rozario, also joined us for the debate. This was an exciting opportunity for me as I not only got to attend the event and meet some of our clients, but was also able to try out for myself some of the functionality of our Connect Social platform as I would be moderating the CoveritLive chat facility and Twitter feed.
After introductions and a slight panic over where to plug my laptop in, the morning was spent covering Lewis’ webcasting surgery and the development roadmap with Ady. A lot was discussed so I’ll just try and summarise some of the key points that were mentioned:-
- Lewis updated everyone on the ongoing migration process to the new Connect platform and also discussed the desire to move clients from Windows Media to H264, which reflects the need to work across mobile devices as well as browser-based platforms. Catherine has written more about changing streaming formats here.
- Key features of the development roadmap covered by Ady were the development of a more streamlined version of our stats and measurement system in the CMS, developments to our Studio software and the possibility of ‘scormifying’ created content so that it could be used as learning objects in Learning Management systems.
- We also discussed our current work on developing a new version of out mobile encoder – the R600 and what clients thought this should look like.
After a delicious lunch and chat with some of our clients it was time for the panel discussion on how to increase viewership figures. This was presented by Daniel and split into three areas of discussion that covered what you could do pre, during and post webcast:
- To generate interest pre webcast we looked at how to promote using your internal networks. Damian from Cheshire West and Chester said 30-40% of Members there use Twitter, around 20% are active. Matt Bond from Cornwall raised a great point with me over CoveritLive that these tools are great for those that are politically engaged but how do we reach those that aren’t? Simon Hill mentioned the potential usefulness of local alerts and Matt Bond suggested the Nirvana system could be a useful tool as this can be tied in with the publication of agendas through keyword recognition and distribution,
- Daniel’s top tips included allowing Twitter access through the CMS, the use of tagging and the Disqus Forum as a helpful instigator of debate prior to the meeting. We also looked at tools like Buffer and Hootsuite which are great for scheduling timed tweets.
- Moving on to what can be done to boost viewership during the meeting; Daniel mentioned live chat being a great way to generate interest. Cornwall Council’s recent webcast being a good example which you can read about here. The embed player is another great tool that can help promote your content and allow it to travel further and Matt from the BMA mentioned that this works well for them. We also touched on the Access Control Paygate available through Connect Social and the possibility of building revenue.
- Lastly looking at post meeting, Daniel discussed the use of tools like Storify, eg.with Edinburgh webcast launch which you can read about here. We looked at the Member Profiles feature of Connect Social and it being a way to promote the webcast without using the Council’s resources as the public can track their Members activities and also the Members can promote themselves. A top tip from Alice from Cheshire was to tweet as soon as the webcast has been archived and we wondered whether this could be something that could be developed as an automatic feature.
Some important questions began to surface at this point, is anyone at the stage where they can tweet Council decisions? Would that be possible or right? How do you respond correctly to the back channel in a formal meeting and do you have the written expertise to do this? Catherine asked the group to think about how many hyper local bloggers are in your area? What is your relationship with them? And how can they help you?
There was then time for a couple of drinks and it was back on the train to Brighton. There was certainly a lot to think about from my first User Group on the journey back and I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to be part of it. I’m already looking forward to the next one that looks potentially scheduled for June. If you missed it the webcast is available to watch on archive here. Thanks!