A couple of days ago, I attended a great presentation that will change how I support conferences and other large events. Stephen Judd, IT Manager and web developer at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist for NDSU Agriculture Communication presented on Lanyrd. Here is how they described it in their learn.extension.org course description:
The National eXtension Conference, being held in Sacramento from March 24th to 27th is rapidly approaching and features over 100 sessions and speakers. Organizing the schedule for this many sessions, with up to six concurrent sessions occurring in different rooms, is no small feat. The conference planning committee decided to use Lanyrd (http://lanyrd.com/2014/nexconf/) a site that bills itself as “the social conference directory.”
This webinar will focus on some of the key features of Lanyrd and how you can use it to enhance your conference experience. People who organize conferences may also want to attend to see how they could use Lanyrd for their own events.
There is a recording on the learn.extension.org site, so you can watch the presentation. Here are the features that I would like to highlight:
The Lanyrd site is free to use; however, there are paid features if you so choose. With the Lanyrd site, you can see a description of the conference, view a list of scheduled events, create your own personalized schedule, and see who is speaking and participating if the individual allows it. Lanyrd can be accessed from a Web browser or mobile device, making it easy to plan and participate in your conference experience. With Lanyrd you can add and view supporting presentation materials. Lanyrd also has a robust back channel.
Both attendees and speakers have the ability to provide a detailed profile that others can view. Naturally, the profile can be kept private, but I prefer an open profile so that I can network with others at an event. On the profile, your presentations are listed to include presentations from previous conferences. Your profile provides you with access to upcoming, current, and past events. You can also list all of the social media tools that you wish to share with others. Here is a look at my Lanyrd profile:
On the main conference page, at least, for the conference I am attending, Lanyrd provides a list of speakers. You are then able to learn more about the speaker before attending the session, or you can follow up after a meaningful presentation.
By selecting a speaker’s name, you can request a meeting or send a message to their Twitter account. Additionally, if the individual has provided permission, you can start a conversation with them. You can also access speaker information from the schedule. One of the best parts of Lanyrd is that the individuals are responsible for their own information.
As expected, the event schedule provides a detailed list of speaking sessions based on date and time. The schedule can be viewed as a list or in a calendar grid. You can select sessions to form your own personal schedule. These schedules can be viewed easily from mobile devices. Speaking sessions can be easily added by anyone having admin access. The grid view shows sessions by time and room assignments. Here are examples of the list and grid views:
Selecting a session, you can see specific details about the session including time, date, location, speaker, etc. You can tweet directly from the session page. Additionally, you can save events to iCal, Outlook or Google Calendar formats.
The Lanyrd program is equally robust on mobile devices. Here is are the links to the mobile devices:
For more on this presentation, you can review my notes in Evernote.
This was an informative presentation. If planning a conference or other large event, I believe that you will find Lanyrd a great tool to build community around your event. It is certainly having a positive effect on the upcoming National eXtension Conference.