It should be easy and safe for an organizer to enable interactions during an event

I’ve been to many different conferences and it was easy to notice that organizers want to have interactions between the speakers and the crowd and inside the crowd. Get questions, feedbacks, enable debates in order to not have a “Top > Down” feeling, a few people delivering informations to an audience without a word to say but a dynamic experience, where people share thoughts and remarks. We got used to this way of doing because of the Internet.

To make this possible, we started to use hashtags to gather conversations from different places. We printed it out everywhere and communicated before and during the event. It’s useful as we can filter the social networks with this keyword and track conversations wherever we are. For big events, we can even see big screens displaying the messages next to the stages.

However, this exercice is limited, especially this use of hashtag. By being on open networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), a conference is not protected against “stream hijacking”.

First, managing information is tricky. If a speaker shares sensitive data, if an attendee publishes wrong or incomplete information using the dedicated hashtag or if the audience is itself “sensitive” (think about underage people), it can somehow jeopardize the event. Moderating is not possible as the content is published in external streams not managed by the organizer. Excepted for big screens, where third apps can make a selection of messages, to the detriment of spontaneity.

Besides, a hashtag can be hijacked by other people for personal, promotional, spamming, or even offensive purposes. And all of these can be operated by an anonymous person out of reach or a bot.

On Twitter, algorithms scan hashtags all the time and if some of them get traction, bots will publish unrelated messages to the event. A real pollution for organizers.

With these limitations in mind, we thought that Igloo could be used for events and conferences, open to all or restricted. Because an igloo access is managed by its founder, we know who’s joining and who’s publishing messages. A public igloo is unrestricted but can be also restricted. So it is possible to require the use of true identity or tolerate usernames but being uncompromising on moderation.

Actually, Igloo admins can quickly delete a message. Each member can also mute any other members. That means moderation is live and comfort of use better as an open twitter stream.

Another advantage of Igloo is to protect personal data. Nobody needs to reveal an email or phone number in a group to join and talk.

Some organizers try to increase their external visibility thanks to the content published by the audience. But that means reputation risks. Whereas other organizers just want a tool to enable discussions and feedbacks in an controlled digital space and this is where Igloo makes sense. Moreover, Igloo brings an event management system where you can check who’s coming, photo support and messages that can be way longer than 140 characters.

We used this poster to get attendees onboard

We had the opportunity to partner with a conference organized by SESAMm, a startup focused on smart data for finance. And the results of this first experience were very promising: setup and onboarding made in a minute and a simple communication setup thanks to a few posters at the entrance inviting attendees to join the conversation and an emailing prior to the event. That allowed parallel discussions during the conference. Some were reacting to speakers presentations and others were bringing the conversation on other topics. We got in the igloo around 1/4 of attendees and half of them published a message or a remark. For an app that was only available on iOS, it’s very encouraging!

This is why we continue to work on this idea and believe that Igloo is useful for long term communities but also for short term events. We think that the platform allows any kind of organisations, whatever the size is, to enjoy a tool for fostering discussions and interactions without hassle.

Should you have any ideas or remarks about this example, feel free to post them on Igloo!