Virtual events are here to stay. It’s estimated that in 2023 alone 63% of all events will be virtual or hybrid events with a virtual component. It’s a no-brainer for event organizers: it allows you to vastly expand your event to a global audience, and you no longer have to have your attendance hamstrung by pesky inconveniences like fire codes or the laws of physics. Here at Weavy, we’ve hosted or co-hosted several fully virtual hackathons. As a result, we’ve gotten participants from all around the world. It’s also given us insight on how to improve virtual event planning.
Our community team said the single most positive change they made for our most recent hackathon was integrating our low-code Feeds API into our hackathon platform.
How our event used Feeds
For our latest hackathon, the goal was to create a virtual event space where organizers could share updates and participants could converse, troubleshoot, and collaborate throughout the event. Using our JS UI kit, our engineers built a web based event space to host the public and private feeds. Since the Feeds API is designed for Single Sign On (SSO), our team used the official Weavy Discord server to handle account credential management. Participants could use their Discord account to log into the hackathon, where they were able to post, comment, and share.
For prospective attendees who may be curious but were not yet committed to entering the event, or just wanted to browse without logging in, our community team used the web API to create a read only version of the public feed. This also enabled our organizers and co-sponsors to share important updates and notices, not unlike a physical event organizer putting updated signage near the entrance of an event hall. Based on this experience, we identified three major ways a good Feeds implementation could benefit any hybrid or virtual event.
1. Official communications channel
To quote Outkast: “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” As an event organizer, one of the biggest challenges during the event is adapting to change as it’s happening. Maybe a speaker drops out, maybe a meeting changes locations, whatever the last minute change may be it’s imperative that those in attendance are made aware of it in a timely manner. A public Feed allows organizers and co-sponsors to give all participants and attendees access to the same information simultaneously.
Better still, when an event app is configured to push notifications from feeds, feeds allow organizers to get up to the minute updates to attendees. This was especially helpful during our most recent hackathon, as it provided an easy way to give reminders for upcoming live streams and deadlines. This official channel kept miscommunication to a minimum. As an added bonus, Feeds also provided a direct support line in the rare case that attendees were having issues navigating the platform, allowing the community team to quickly respond to problems as they emerged.
2. Event gamification and engagement
People are naturally competitive. Whether it’s versus others or just about beating their personal best, people are naturally inclined to push to be better. This is a huge reason why gamification, the practice of introducing game-like mechanics into a non gaming scenario, has become an incredibly popular practice for encouraging engagement. The simple step of creating unlockable achievements and badges or providing a leader-board for attendees based on their in-event activities does wonders to keep attendees active and engaged throughout the event.
For a hackathon this is a no-brainer: the event is already competitive by nature, and integrating feeds gave organizers an easy way to keep all participants up to date on the progress they, and their competitors, were making. Feeds provided a way to log milestones and achievements on a team by team basis, as well as provide overall standings for each stage of the hackathon.
Outside of hackathons and competitive events, feeds still provide ample opportunities to boost attendee engagement, such as daily leaderboards for event participation and attendance. A well engaged attendee is much more likely to be a returning attendee for subsequent events.
3. Attendee-to-attendee interaction
Let’s face it: virtual events can be very lonely. Even though an attendee may understand in theory that thousands of others are also watching a keynote presentation, nothing about the usual user experience gives that impression. In person events and conferences are often important networking opportunities for attendees, however that same value proposition is harder to make with a virtual event.
Feeds helps get around this isolation by providing digital spaces for attendees to introduce themselves, hold discussions, and answer questions. Take for example a keynote speaker. If conducted via livestream organizers could use a feeds post to create a virtual event hall where attendees can watch, like, and leave comments as the keynote is happening. This adds value not only for organizers, but for co-sponsors and attendees looking to get the most out of their events budget.
The integration of Feeds API into our hybrid hackathon platform has been a transformative experience. It's not just about taking an event online; it's about creating a dynamic, interactive space that fosters real-time communication, engagement, and community building. From serving as an official communications channel to gamifying the event and enhancing attendee-to-attendee interactions, Feeds offers a robust solution for tackling the inherent challenges of virtual and hybrid events.
In a landscape where 63% of events are anticipated to have a virtual or hybrid component this year, a well-designed Feeds implementation isn't just a nice-to-have—it's essential for maximizing the reach, impact, and overall success of your event.
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