Skip to Content
3 Min Read

Conference 2.0 Strategies Capture a Bigger Picture

At the recent Communications Network annual conference held at the Ford Foundation in New York City, 20 volunteers known collectively as the Gorilla Engagement Squad, used Flip Cams to conduct video interviews with 120 conference attendees. 

In addition to asking participants what resonated from the sessions they attended, Gorillas asked: “What has and hasn’t changed about foundation communications over the past five years?” 

What Has Changed About Foundation Communications in the Last Five Years? from Communications Network on Vimeo.

As commander-in-chief of the Squad, I was thrilled to see the wealth of engaging compelling content captured by my colleagues using what I call a “conference 2.0 engagement” strategy. It’s all just a further extension of the evolution from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 in which we recognize that folks are no longer satisfied to be talked at — we want to talk amongst ourselves.

As these videos demonstrate, it no longer need be just the insightful experience of presenters and the quick chats with folks in the halls that shape our experience of conferences.  Conference 2.0 engagement strategies — captured by our peers — can communicate the collective mood of a gathering.

Because this organized collective of my peers chose to commit acts of journalism (did Clay Shirky coin that great phrase?) I can quickly test my sense of reality by perusing the Twitter stream or viewing eight or ten brief videos featuring 40 or 50 of my colleagues. 

While I love to be inspired by those of you who shape panels and present winning experiences, I’m more of a sucker for how we, as participants, let what we hear shape and inspire us. 

So here’s my take-away, that I’d like to test with your sense of what you heard at the conference and in these videos:

The collective fear of ”seasoned” (a.k.a 35 year old +) foundation communicators is receding.  Assuming budget cuts don’t get us, digital natives who intuitively grasp new(fangled) media tools, aren’t going to either. We are growing more confident in our capacity to adapt to a landscape where change is the only constant. Clay Shirky’s exhortations to experiment are not a threat — they are an oft-repeated invitation we are ready to embrace.

Whether you agree or disagree, we welcome you to talk back on our blog here.  I’ll be inviting the Gorillas to chime in since, whether they know it or not, their work is not done here. 

Susan Herr


* indicates required

Join The Network

Community, learning, and leadership to help you do good, better.

Become a member