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Woodford Folk Festival and the myFestivals App

In August I went to a fantastic conference for festival organisers by Folk Alliance Australia, called Ausfolk. Unfortunately I got busy with uni and didn't write about it, which is a major mistake on my part, but it was the best damned conference I've ever attended. (I do have notes from it, so I should do that soon, because it's better than never.)

At this event I met many awesome people in the industry I am working towards, and the very first person I met, at the train station, was Pedro Plowman. He drove the transfers van, you see.

Anyway, even before we get into the van for Woodfordia, he tells me about this app he's working on for festivals. "Awesome!" I'm thinking, "mobile technology and events! The best!" He says he wants to have it ready in time for Woodford.

Months down the track and he requests my details so I can test the program for him. I've had the app on my iPhone for a few days and I love the capabilities. All artists, shows, ceremonies, discussions, workshops, etc that are on at this year's Woodford Folk Festival are categorised, listed and described in the app. All you need to do is check off the shows or programs you don't want to miss and your schedule is made for you! Brilliant!

There's also a festival grounds map and vital contact numbers (poisons line, taxis, admin, security, RACQ) in case of emergency at the festival.

myFestivals App just came into the Apple Store last night, and I'm proud to say that I can't wait to use it at Woodford Folk Festival (while I'm volunteering as a venue manager! Yay!)  in a few days.

You can nab it from the Apple store for free here.

An Award Nomination

2009 eventprofs blog award nomination badge

I thought I'd take a minute out of my post-BNEtwestival relaxation to announce something I didn't expect. I've been nominated to win the Best New Blog category in Ready2Spark's EventProfs Blog Awards 2009! This means that this very prominant and active event professionals online network says that my blog is kinda awesome. The competition for this claim in my category is a little intimidating though...

This could be tricky! Voting commences by September 14th and closes on the 21st. The winner will be announced by September 28. I'll surely blog with details on the voting in a few days, and also regarding the magic of Brisbane Twestival which was on last night and ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.

Edit: Voting is open. You can only vote once, so make it count; vote for me!

Creative Drinks, Networx, ANZ, Brisbane Twestival

Hello, readers! How is everyone today? Just a general update of the awesome things I've been up to lately. Last week I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to Creative Drinks. My dear friend Hannah Suarez of Brisbane Creative Industries was the speaker of the evening and did very well. Her presentation is on SlideShare here and includes some helpful networking event tips.

Tuesday I was also in attendance at my favourite Brisbane events company Iceberg Events' Networx, Working the (Real & Virtual) Room. Director of Paragon Associates, Lisa Butler kick-started the evening with information on busting networking myths and emphasised that anyone can learn to network effectively. More friends of mine were speaking on the topic of working the virtual room (specifically Twitter) - in fact, the whole panel trio of Darryl King, Clare Lancaster and Greg Lexiphanic! Ignoring the occasional train screaming through South Brisbane, discussions of Twitter and social media run amok against a background of a Twitter projection of the #networx hashtag.

Yesterday I attended ANZ's Small Business workshops discussing online marketing (specifically Google's AdWords and social media) and brand awareness. The day was a good one and I met various new people interested in learning more about their businesses online. I was even outed as a secret live-twitter bug, which was a great example to those wanting to understand the scope social media can have. There are more ANZ Small Business workshops happening all around Australia until around November, so get in quick to enrol (they're free too)!

Lastly, things are rolling faster and faster for Brisbane Twestival Local. Committee positions are being snapped up fast, bands and artists approached, venues scoped. We are hoping to gather the support of the voted-in beyondblue: the national depression initiative as our charity of choice to support, a charity I have long been a fan of.

Phew! I think that's about it. Oh! And the BTUB Wine Night was a complete success as well. My first paid event as a freelancer. Feels good, man.

Looking for full-time employment has unfortunately taken a back seat to these activities. It's a shame I'm having so much fun... well, no. Not really.

BTUB July-August

Another month gone by; another range of upcoming Brisbane Twitter events. I just love these guys! The Wine Appreciation Night is on July 22nd, another pub night on August 7th and the Bridge to BTUB is on August 30th. These events and more are listed here on the calendar in the sidebar or here on Facebook.

For fantastic comment on what goes down at BTUB, @SleepyDumpling has written such one here. My favourite bit is:

In the past few months I have met so many very cool people, from all kinds of walks of life, age groups, interests and careers. And one common thread I find through the majority of them are that they are lovely open-minded and open-hearted people who welcome anyone to the fold. Not only have I broadened my general social circle, and been able to be part of a bunch of new experiences, but I feel I've made some lovely new friends along the way.

Facebook Events: Yay or Nay?

We've all done them. You're hosting a little shindig at home when you've realised you don't have Fred's new phone number and that you'll probably just get Julie's answering machine for the next few days again. What do you do? Facebook it.

Sure the effort of doing so isn't a lot, but how effective are they in actually gaining a successful guest list? In my experience, you could always assume the social network addicts would sign up first, if not immediately, then slowly the numbers creep up until you've got the record player set to Hottest 100 Party Tracks as guests shyly arrive.

Well, anyway, I asked fellow Twitter addicts how they use Facebook events. Next week, I might ask the neighbours, but they'll just look at me strangely and offer a cup of sugar instead.

"I think they are fantastic, except not everyone is on FB. Good marketing ploy of theirs though" - @kirstywrites

Attendance

Clearly diminishes 20% on average. Due to lack of interaction with the host? Possibly. As Facebook ages, less people are taking their RSVPs on the website seriously.

Personal Touch

The main argument many people I speak to have against Facebook is the lack of face-to-face communication. No Twitter respondants actually mentioned this!

Time frame

Clearly you're unable to post a Facebook event for the same day. A week might suffice depending on the size and nature of your event, also on how active your guests are on the social network which can be quite a lot of assuming. Four weeks or even more for a major celebration or fundraiser is ideal if you have this time frame available.

Then there is the "Maybe" RSVP option. Dreaded by event hosts, loved by attendees:

"I can reply 'maybe' to events & they still show up in my timeline, so I can decide to go closer to the time." - @scarlettjen

Diary Management

@ccake, like @iusebiro and @brentoe, syncs FB events with other calculators and also chooses to have e-mail notifications turned on for when the invitations come in, much like @kissability does.

"I do use Facebook events and I have email notifications turned on for invitations. I find it very useful in my busy schedule!" - @kissability

"Handy for knowing about harder to find things (house show parties, gallery openings) new facebook keeps it more hidden though." - @vivzilla

"[I] check my requests (incl event invites) daily, a bit spammy but still quite useful." - @djackmanson

"Events is my primary use of Facebook- I use it constantly as my social calendar. Find it incredibly useful." - @glittertrash

"I use it all the time, both as an attendee and organiser. Very handy." - @sleepydumpling

"I rely heavily on my Facebook events. I'm very forgetful, so having them display in 'coming up' on my homepage really helps." - @hellyeahkate

Authenticity

Having only a Facebook event for an invitation, do people trust these or seek verbal confirmation of the event? @brentoe doesn't seem to think so, but @erikveland has other ideas:

"I rely on it to track my events. Unfortunately event spam has made them useless as a source to send out REAL invitations...Because of event spam, most people will just ignore invitations altogether unless you specifically bring attention to them." - @erikveland

"I use them and so do nearly all of my friends. Event isn't "official" until it's on FB" - @brentoe

Suggestions for Facebook

Option to lose the 'Maybe' RSVP. That would be my main suggestion. What do you think?

"The "no chance" ones can be annoying. It's OK to be invited once, but multiple times?! We need "never invite me" op" - @divabat

"If FB used microformats for events it would be a great improvement. Otherwise I rarely check events" - @zuzu

In closing...

I'm having a house party next weekend, which I'm very excited about, and the Facebook event went up a week or so ago. Let's see how many make it, but in the meantime, what are your views on Facebook events usage?