The future of #eventprofs chats

Thank you everyone who participated in last week’s two chats about …the future of chats. Here are links to the survey results and the Tuesday transcript. I’ve had a chance to think about the discussion, and, as the de facto community manager (other drivers welcome), here’s what I plan to do in the future:

Organize one chat per week

Although we have had two weekly time slots for chats for some time (Tue 9-10pm and Thu 12-1pm EST), in practice we have been averaging just over one chat per week (58 in 2011). There was clear agreement that we should change how often we meet to once a week. I’m still open to anyone suggesting an additional short-notice chat on a hot topic, but I won’t be scheduling more than one chat a week.

Rotate the day and time we hold the chat

It was clear from the discussions that about half those who responded preferred daytime chats and half preferred evening chats. Rather than disenfranchise half our audience permanently, we’re going to rotate our chat times weekly between our existing Tue 9-10pm and Thu 12-1pm EST times. I’m not going to to be a robot about this; we may chat two Tuesdays or Thursdays in a row. But over the year, we’ll hold about the same number of chats on each day. Follow @epchat to be informed about upcoming chats.

Chat hashtag

We will keep using the hashtag for the chat. Yes, it contains a lot more, sometimes irritating, announcements (aka spam) than the good old days, but that’s the price of fame. The same would eventually happen for any new hashtag we adopted. Event professionals new to Twitter often discover our chats via the hashtag. Besides, do you really want to have to remember to check one more hashtag?

Chat topics

We have had a neat tool for suggesting and voting on chat topics for some time, but it has not been used much, though I publicize it regularly on Twitter. I did not receive any ideas on ways to increase suggestions for chat topics, though several new topics were suggested (thank you Michelle & Marvin!) which I’ve added to our tool. People liked the idea of having more guest speakers on the chat and I will try to solicit more of them. And I would really appreciate suggestions/introductions from the community (that means YOU); contact me, it only takes a moment!

OK, so how can I help?

  1. Follow @epchat to be informed about upcoming chats.
  2. Take just a couple of minutes to suggest and vote on chat topics. If there’s a topic you want to talk about, suggest it! Is there’s a guest you want? Suggest them, together with the topic! If everyone added at least one topic just once a year and did comparison voting on five pairs of suggestions, we’d have a great pool of suggestions.
  3. If you are interested in moderating or being a guest on an chat, just let me know! Include your name, suggested topic, and the day you’d like to be on.
  4. I would love to move our #eventprofs site from the creaky (but free) pbworks wiki to something more streamlined (a free WordPress site would probably work). But I don’t have the time to do this myself right now. If you would be prepared to help with this project, I promise to have your likeness, links, and a generous profusion of thanks prominently displayed on the resulting gloriously updated version. Contact me!

In the end, as always, the health of the community is up to you. My continuing goal is to support making the chats maximally useful to the greatest number of event professionals, within the constraints of volunteer time and energy. Comments and helpful suggestions are, as always, welcome.