Not long ago, Michelle Bruno witnessed a fascinating exchange on LinkedIn relating to the future of virtual events and who should be allowed to contribute to the discussion. She shares her experience here.
A very interesting discussion in the “Virtual Events and Meeting Technology” group on LinkedIn was recently derailed. The initial question posed by the group administrator was, “Will Virtual Events Ever Really Take Off?” For those of us invested in this topic—vendors, event organizers, journalists and passionate observers—this question is the key to unlocking the resources and momentum necessary to move beyond mere discussion to widespread understanding. It is the kind of question that begs responses from any and all whether they have a horse in the race or a comfortable seat in the stands. Instead, some of the most important voices were admonished or excluded.
After several weeks of contributions to the discussion from mostly vendors, it was revealed that Michael Doyle, the founder of the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI)—a prominent voice in this fledgling industry—has been intentionally excluded from the group. The announcement took the focus off of what was a fantastic dialogue onto who should or should not be allowed into the discussion.
The group owner clearly stated his reasoning for excluding Mr. Doyle in a recent post: “Since VEI is financially supported by vendors, I consider content produced by them to be a form of advertising. There have been of couple of past members who were tied to VEI and only posted links back to VEI. Not in line with my goals for the group. So my question has always been this, if I approve Michael does this forum become just another exposure point for his agenda?”
The group owner’s position on admitting Michael Doyle or excluding persons affiliated with VEI is self-defeating. If, as he admits, live event producers have not yet embraced the virtual models, who is available to participate in the discussion if not vendors and thought leaders like Doyle? At least Doyle has street cred for having moved the needle on a class of technology that is helping to bring our old school industry into alignment with the rest of the business world.
I can well appreciate the group owner’s interest in protecting the integrity of the discussion. I will be the first to admit that the cacophony of advertising and digital stimulation eating my brain cells has my cognitive shield on red alert. Yet, with an industry in its infancy, there have to be exceptions made in the interests of the community at large. If, in exchange for valuable contributions, the community has to accept the bias, motivations, and sometimes “commercial” references (in the opinions of some) that come along with them, isn’t that a fair exchange?
Posted with the permission of Michelle Bruno. To read the rest of this post please click here http://forkintheroadblog.com/archives/it-takes-a-virtual-village-to-build-an-industry/
(Photo by nagora)