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I’d been looking forward all last week to a Saturday night event at the KC Artists Coalition. Peregrine Honig, the Kansas City artist who appeared on the Bravo reality hit “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” was speaking about her work and experiences as a finalist on the show.

I tweeted about the event several times during the week. On Saturday, I re-checked the website a couple of hours before the live event to confirm the address and learned an RSVP was now required. Calling the KCAC, they said the event was overbooked and no more RSVPs were being accepted. Hanging up disappointed, I got on Tweetdeck and set up a search on @PeregrineHonig and #KCAC to track the commentary via social media. Checking in during the event, I was, however, surprised to see no one was live tweeting. Disappointment #2.

When they told me I couldn’t attend, it never occurred to me to tell the person on the phone I planned to create social media content (i.e., live tweet and blog about the presentation), providing additional exposure for the artist, the event, and KCAC. I’d already done one blog post about “Work of Art,” on the TalentCulture blog. Yet even if I had told them of my live tweeting and social media content plans, what was there to make them believe me (especially over the phone) or to prove my intentions? If you’re part of the official press, you have a press card or other documentation to back up your qualifications. With these you can gain access even to overbooked art studio events.

Here’s the question: Is there something equivalent to a press pass for those of us “reporting” content via social media?

If there is, where do you get it? And if there isn’t, it sure seems as if there should be.

I’m not looking for special treatment, but a live event social media specialist (translation – somebody who is going to live tweet and blog) not getting access to an event has a bigger negative impact than if most people who attended Saturday night and didn’t share their perspectives via social media had been sitting at home. – Mike Brown

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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  • http://www.markvanbaale.com Mark Van Baale

    Mike, You make a great point. It makes total sense to me for there to be press pass for live bloggers or tweeters. Also, when you mentioned the importance of live tweeting or blogging an event, it made me think how valuable offering this service to others as part of your job would be an interesting tactic for event organizers to get the word out via viral marketing.

    • Mike Brown

      Thanks for getting the comments started Mark. And you’re definitely right about the value of offering live event social media production – we’ve been doing it for more than a year, combining our background in social media and event production: http://brainzooming.com/?p=2350

  • ron

    ended up here out of the blue- good tweet post- i am not so sure i want to spend time having to decide who is and who is NOT legit- tweets/social media is supposed to be a viral based form of promotion and maybe that is the way it should be looked at- I run LARGE events- and have 25 “could be small independant challenge or turn BIG and time sucker without benefits” situations going on at any given moment- (ex: you decide NOT to gve a tweet pass free for your $1,000 per ticket event- and the non-legit candidate tweets negatively abt you) why open up the convo? just one guys view/reaction- hope its valuable

    • Mike Brown

      I get your point Ron about the challenge of wading through whether potential social media people are legitimate or not Ron, yet I think it will be increasingly difficult to ignore opening up the conversation in the future. That’s why I was wondering about some type of third-party credentialing that at least helps event organizers make specific decisions. To your point about the expectation that social media is viral, we’ve been able to demonstrate the value of taking a news team model to live event social media. It’s one thing for it to be spontaneous, but there’s a lot more impact at most events with some planning and implementation effort behind it.

  • Ama

    Bloggers covering sports teams have run into similar issues – gaining respect from the mainstream media, access to the press-box, ability to participate in press-conferences, etc.

    For a group that would really benefit from social media exposure – part of what you need is an “elevator speech”, 15-20 seconds on who you are, your blog/twitter id so they can go check to see if you’re legit, and why letting you in is a good idea.

    Really hard to do 2 hrs before an event, but a great service to have in your portfolio to offer the event organizer.

    • Mike Brown

      Great point Ama about having the elevator speech down on the benefits from you blogging or live tweeting. We’ve been doing live event social media on a pre-planned basis for major conferences, where we’re part of the planning and production, so access hasn’t been an issue there. An in other cases where I happen to be somewhere for a presentation, I usually live tweet it and blog about it later if it fits with the content strategy (creativity, strategy, innovation) here on the blog. In this case, they changed the policy for the event a some point during the week (adding the RSVP). If it would have asked for RSVPs a week earlier when I made plans to go, I’d have gotten in and been writing about the evening. Sometimes it really does take something get messed up to trigger a new idea!

  • http://servicemarketer.blogspot.com/ chris reaburn

    It depends of the objective of the live event.

    If the objective, as in this and most cases, is to increase exposure to (and ultimately demand for) the person / act / idea the event is supporting, then clearly creating space for a live tweeter / blogger furthers that cause. If the opportunity cost of the forgone revenue from the seat is weighed against that increased exposure, they give the space to the social media journalist.

    If, however, the live event is the “Rolling Stones Line Their Pockets Tour 2010,” the objective is more likely met by reserving the space for a paying customer, and increased exposure may not be possible / necessary anyway.

    The problem is that while this decision-making rule of thumb might be generally agreeable, the “how” of determining whether the live event specialist will be a benefit is unclear. Yet another example of the established – emerging model conflict we’re seeing across industries where a traditional way of doing business is being challenged by a model disintermediated by the internet.

    The question then becomes one of how to effect change on the existing model to keep the interests of the established event managers in mind while opening up space for new media.

    • Mike Brown

      It’s interesting Chris that this idea has seemed to imply for people “free access.” I probably wasn’t very specific about that, but other than events where The Brainzooming Group has specifically produced social media content for the event, I’ve paid to attend events where I’ve live tweeted and blogged. The KCAC event was free to everyone anyway. My complaint was they changed the attendance rules during the week. I’d have RSVP’d a week before if there had been a mechanism to do it. The event was obviously more popular than expected, so the procedure for attending got changed. This was more about poor event planning than anything else. My starting point was simply that it would have been nice to get access, with no other special treatment, to a free event. If I’d been on my own, I’d have shown up anyway and taken my chances on getting in. As it was, I went to work out and ran in to an old business acquaintance who suggested there are some interesting projects we might be able to work on together!