Last week I attended my first Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) in Geneva, Switzerland and I have to say I was pretty blown away by it all! The conference is organised by my newish employers – the Open Knowledge Foundation – and is is the world’s leading open data and open knowledge conference. There were over 900 delegates from all around the world and I’ve never met such a bunch of passionate and driven people! The sessions on open government, sustainability and development were hugely eye opening and work being carried out is both innovative and inspiring. I was involved in the open education strand and you can read more about how our panel session and other activities went on the LinkedUp blog.
I won’t go into too much detail about the conference content, there are a collection of posts on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog and my colleague Zara Rahman has written a great post on the vibe. Another tool that gives a really good feel for the event vibe is eventifier. They currently have 692 photos, 18 videos, 15036 tweets, 17 slide sets, 7 audio files and 2854 contributors listed!
What I want to concentrate on is what a fantastic job our Comms team did of amplifying the event.
I think the Comms team won’t mind me revealing that they hadn’t amplified such a big event before, but a massive team effort resulted in a really professional feel to the approach. A separate page was set up at http://okcon.org/live/ where they collated a live blog, live streaming and live tweeting. You could even order an OKCon t-shirt to feel like a real member of the crew!
The liveblogging was carried out using Superdesk Liveblog by SourceFabrik. It allowed integration of tweets, photos and summary text.
All the main stage plenary and panel presentations were livestreamed using Livestream. As soon as the talks had taken place the footage was archived and listed on the OKCon live site (and on the Livestream site), long term they will be archived on the OKCon Vimeo Channel. Feedback from those watching was that the live streaming was of high-quality and with few hiccups, viewing numbers were in the hundreds.
Remote participation felt natural from the start and the conference actually opened with a well-exectuted video message from Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission.
There were quite a few sessions that called for outside participation. For example, the Open Citizen Science event asked for voting on interesting proposals using Skype, Google Hangout and Etherpad. The Open Hardware in Open Science and Research session used Pirate Pad to allow outside people to contribute.