Amplifying Events from Girona

Today was a big one for amplified events. This morning at 11.30 (BST) my boss, Brian Kelly gave a talk on What can We Learn From Amplified Events? at the University of Girona (UdG) in Catalonia. Not only that but the event was streamed too, so it was a talk about amplified events that was amplified – get your head round that! 😉

Brian Kelly giving his talk at the University of Gerona

Brian Kelly giving his talk at the University of Gerona

I want to look at both the talk and the amplification of it…

The talk: What can We Learn From Amplified Events?

Brian was one of the first people to pick up on the amplified event concept and he’s really run with it. He is very methodical about making his slides and event resources available in as many ways as possible: slides, papers, audio, video, you name it – Brian has made it available for his talks, and using various different services too. We’ve really come on leaps and bounds with the amplification of the Institutional Web Management Workshop that we co-chair.

This morning was the first time Brian has given a talk about amplified events, as opposed to organised or participated in them. And as he explains on his blog:

I´ve found it useful to reflect on the approaches we´ve taken in exploiting various networked technologies at events over the past few years. I´ll be describing how amplified events can help to “avoid the constraints of space and time“, can provide “real time peer reviewing” and reflect the views that “an open exchange of ideas will promote innovation” expressed recently by the JISC´s Executive Secretary Malcolm Read and published a few days ago in the Times Higher Education.

Brian Kelly giving his talk at the University of Gerona - in livestream

He started off by considering the reasons for event amplification. Working in the public sector we have a responsibility to share what we know; without an audience specific research will have failed in its purpose. We need to be open. Not only this but amplifying an event allows us to return to it and enhance our understanding, and all this happens at a much reduced carbon impact.

Brian’s talk then took us on a tour of many of the event amplification practices UKOLN (and others) have tried out at various events, from Twitter, blogging, video streaming to captioning videos. He then considered many of the challenges including privacy and legal issues, spam, cost and sustainability.

Brian Kelly giving his talk at the University of Gerona - photo from event taken by Amblletradepal

Brian concluded by considering what the risks of not engaging might be. You might give a talk to 30 people but 12,000 could then go on to view the slides or watch the video. In Kirsty Pitkin’s words:

An event amplifier is an audience expander, an experience enhancer and an idea spreader“.

There followed a few questions considering how you support people who struggle to engage with all these channels at the same time and use of event amplification in the business world.

To be honest there is a lot in the slides that Brian skimmed over due to time so do take another look.

All the resources associated with the talk are linked to from the talk page on the UKOLN Web site. Brian’s slides are also available on AuthorStream and on Slideshare. The Slideshare slides are embedded below.

Brian also created a video introducing the talk.

The Streaming

The live video stream of the talk was provided through Livestream. (Livestream is a browser-based Studio application which creates live, scheduled and on-demand internet television using a single player widget). It provides a chat facility too. Brian also encouraged people to sign up for the talk using Lanyard.

There were approximately 30 people physically at the event and the number watching the event remotely peaked at 26 people.

Split screen in livestream

The streaming was of excellent quality, both the audio and video were about as good as it gets! We could see Brian very clearly, unfortunately due to the light the slides didn’t show up. Luckily the organisers picked this up on Twitter and managed to improve the quality about half way through. The majority of the time the focus of the streaming was Brian and his slides but occasionally the screen split to show the TwittBee Twitter wall.

As Richard Akerman watching from National Science Library, Canada, said on Twitter.

impressed by the livestream mobile site – stream works on my iphone

He did have a few problems later on and said the encoding load was too high, but managed to watch most of the presentation.

One suggestion…

They tested the streaming at 10:45 but didn’t announce that it was actually a test. This left me in a panic thinking that the session was starting early – there had already been some confusion over time zones. The fact that they were talking in Catalan didn’t help here either! The streaming then seemed to go on and off intermittently and we actually got to see Brian set up for his talk.

As Chris Gutteridge put it on Twitter:

It’s kind of weird voyeurism watching Brian getting set up for his livestream from #udgamp10..

I think a holding slide saying, for example, “Back at 11:30 BST” would have been a big help here.

Archives of the session are available from Livestream.

The Amplification

People were encouraged to tweet about the talk on the Twitter back channel using the #udgamp10 hashtag. The tweets were also shown in the room on a Twitter Wall using TwittBee. This was occasionally shown on the livestream. Kirsty Pitkin once again did a brilliant job as official live Twitterer using her recently established @eventamplifier Twitter account. She blogged from her home in Bath! This was the first time that Brian and Kirsty have worked together to provide distributed live blogging support. In addition to Kirsty there was another live blogger reporting from the seminar room tweeting in Catalan, Spanish and English.

There is a Twapper Keeper archive for #udgamp10 and a Summarizr page with Twitter stats.

Brian Kelly talking about rights and event amplification

Brian’s talk went really well, the local crew in Girona did a great job and the overall result was interesting, enjoyable and quite possibly ground-breaking. As Brian says on his final slide “can you afford not to engage in event amplification?


9 thoughts on “Amplifying Events from Girona

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Amplifying Events from Girona « Ramblings of a Remote Worker --

  2. Hi Marieke – thanks for the mention. Just to clarify, the livestream was working on my iPhone fine, when Brian and his hosts were futzing around with the setup before 11:30 (6:30 AM my time). As best I remember, when they were about to go live with the actual talk (or very shortly thereafter), they shutdown and restarted the stream, and the mobile stream was gone ( ) – I don’t know whether someone just forgot to check a checkbox or what. I speculated that maybe there was an extra compute load to do the mobile encoding, but that’s pure speculation, I don’t know why the mobile stream disappeared.

  3. Once the iPhone stopped working I moved to my desktop and used the desktop interface to Livestream along with watching the #udgamp10 hashtag. I tweeted a few things as I watched. I know you mentioned there was an official live blogger but that didn’t stand out in the Twitter stream.

    — Richard

  4. Thanks for the great post and also for the comments! Unfortunately the wifi went out for a few minutes short before 12:30 pm. After the talk we were told that the room had had wifi blackouts in other occasions. We connected the pc with the webcam directly into an ethernet plug. My opinions is that one should always use the best communications links, in this case an ethernet cable.

    In the room, signal from the 3G cell phone system was not very good, either.

    Let me state, thus, three key things:

    1. Provide plenty of plugs to charge laptops and electronic devices, especially if the events lasts for more that two hours. Watching people fighting for electricity plugs is not at all fun, and complaints about not being able to use laptops due to battery run outs are sad.

    2. Have a strong and steady wifi signal.

    3. Have a strong cell phone carrier signal (or various carriers).

    4. Have a direct (ethernet) connection to the institution network, so the number of devices connected by wifi does not affect the livecast.

    5. Have replacement laptops – at least for the lecturer.

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