Virtual Events are content. So let’s make some good internet!

Every second of every event is content. Content for organizers. For presenters. And even for the audience. We checked out a few recent events — Wizard World, The Virtual Ironman, and The NBA Bubble, and took some notes on how virtual events are making good internet. For everyone.

For organizers, clients, and everyone running the show
Show-off your brand, and your virtual self.

GIF from WizardWorld Virtual Experiences of 3 men chatting on a Zoom call

The good stuff is always on file.

Wizard World Virtual Experiences just released a reunion panel for the 2004 cult-classic film Napoleon Dynamite. If you don’t already know, Napoleon Dynamite was the “Vote For Pedro” movie. It was, and still is, a worldwide phenomenon. A panel like this one will draw fans to the event’s youtube page for years to come. This is good news for organizers — because in reality, every event creates unique, one-of-a-kind content. Moments that could be a worldwide phenomenon (just maybe to a few less people in the world). Virtual events allow organizers to keep these unique experiences alive online. And to keep getting new fans interested in the event. And that’s what it’s all about.

GIF of a man DJing in a backyard, and throwing a child into an inflatable bounce house

Just act virtual. 

HARD fest, known worldwide as a premier high energy dance party, uploaded a low-key DJ set from YeaMe2 just DJing in his backyard. There’s a moonbounce in the background. Occasionally YeaMe2’s kids interrupt and dance with him. And it all seems to make sense for right now. People are at home. This is what a dance event is right now. And it’s still cool. It’s still on brand. It’s still about just dancing and having fun. Organizers should see virtual event content as a way to add another dimension to their brand. Another layer. An opportunity to showcase their real, virtual self.

For presenters, vendors, and everyone on camera.
Experts and the unexpected.

Woman on a virtual cal drawing on a virtual platform with the caption "Mia De Los Reyes and the Raiders of the Lost Elements"

All the ideas in one place.

This year, the California Academy of Sciences Virtual NightLife event combined botanists, geologists, outer space experts, artists, illustrators, and even mixologists; all under one live-stream. The result was interesting, free flowing, and entertaining — because most experts are all of those things. Luckily, in the virtual event world, presenters can start to build a library of all of these talks. Their riffs. Their tangents. For experts and artists who talk at a lot of conferences, the virtual stage is a way to catalogue ideas and projects and share them with the world. Because you never know who might want to collaborate.

GIF of a woman riding on an indoor spin bike with a man holding various junk in front of her

The unexpected is real

Sometimes the virtual world can help people connect with the audience even more than in real life (even if it’s on accident). During a recent Virtual Ironman Triathlon, Mirinda Carafe’s husband accidentally pulled the plug on her stationary bike, causing her to lose her standing in the race. It was a moment that made Carafe genuinely disappointed (as any athlete would be). But more importantly, the audience saw her plug the bike back in and still compete to win. This wasn’t the virtual experience she hoped for. But it’s the kind of content that people want right now — which is imperfect, inspiring, and real. All possible in the virtual world.

For everyone else in virtual land.
Inspire and trust your audience.

GIF of a woman and a dog jogging past on a mountain with a beautiful mountain landscape behind them

Help the audience create.

With a little help, the audience sometimes makes the most interesting content. This year’s Virtual Trail Running Film Festival encouraged people to submit personal videos about how running helped them overcome adversity. Their stories were deep and inspiring, and they added a layer of emotion to the film festival that was new and engaging. Everyone has the ability to make a video, or tell a personal story, but sometimes they just need a little nudge. Virtual events can inspire the audience to make unique content for their community, and also for themselves. It allows an audience, mostly at home, to contribute creatively alongside the presenters. And that’s a pretty cool thing.

GIF montage of tweets about a virtual NBA event

Use everyone’s webcam

Sometimes you just have to turn it over to the audience. Shaq recently stole the show as a virtual fan in the NBA Bubble. Twitter felt he was too big, even in virtual reality. Someone said it looked like he was sitting on the other fans. But really, it was all about giving the fans an opportunity to act funny or interesting on camera. It may take a little thinking, but if you can figure out something unique to do with everyone’s webcam, your audience will do the rest of the work. It will make content for the event, but more importantly, it will make content for your audience to have, and share. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as easy as putting shaq in the bleachers, virtually of course.

It’s all good in virtual.

Aside from the unexpected, which should be expected, and probably embraced, virtual is really where everyone can show off their best side. Upload anywhere. Share anywhere. Edit everything or nothing at all. Virtual events generate gobs of content and give everyone involved the power to use the best parts indefinitely. Which is kinda wild.

September 21, 2020

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September 21, 2020

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