Wow, that’s a mouthful. And that’s exactly what I’ll be discussing at the unGeeked Elite Retreat in Chicago on May 12 – 14, 2011.

How does Social Media extend offline experiences? Sure, you can get a long list of resources that will make your event what is called a ‘hybrid’ (a virtual and physical event), but how do you know which ones are the priority for you, and what is the strategy behind those tactics anyway?

In 2004 I was running a youth organisation that I started called Feedback. We’d already discovered that by putting bands in the show they’d bring their fans along, and that would increase our numbers, but it was when we latched onto MySpace that we discovered the ability to increase participation virtually, aside from the physical limitations of our monthly events. (You can see some old footage on our old MySpace profile still today!)

This really is the benefit of Social Media as an extension of an offline offering. An offline event or experience is typically a single point in space, time and matter, but through Social Media, it can be extended in all three of these areas.

We then need to know how to extend those three in a way that is meaningful and relevant to ‘the why‘ of the offline event in the first place. Perhaps the most helpful element in this is Joe Pine’s model on The Multiverse (For a fuller discussion of this, you read our discussion on ‘virtually present‘)

There are 8 possible configurations of merging time, space, matter with non-time, non-space, non-matter. Joe presents a video on it here, which I would recommend you watch should you have a spare 50 minutes to get acquainted with the future.

  • Space: virtual / physical. This is the mix between being physically there, and being virtually there. Being virtually there means that you don’t have to be restricted by:
  • Time: linear / non-linear. This means that I be at the event before the event, during the event, after the event. You get the idea. This also means that I lift the restriction of:
  • Matter: real / bits. This is about what things are made from. You can be in the same physical space but then still still experience bits – digital data – with which you can then contact those who are virtually present.

It can get very complex, which is what my talk certainly won’t be. I’ll be keeping things simple by getting back to the three core Social strategies that we’ve talked about recently, namely Socialising Channels, Socialising Content, and Socialising Culture. (I think things are easier to remember in threes, don’t you?)

I don’t want to share much more, but there’s a good taster for you here, and I’ll be sharing more of the content over the months, as we’ve got quite a bit of time until May!

Your Leading Thoughts

  1. What’s the best example that you know of, of Social Media extending an event?
  2. What would be you dream usage of Social Media as an enhancing of an offline experience?

Legendary photo courtesy of Benjamin Ellis

Archived Comments

  • Randy Dunning

    Hi Scott,

    I’m excited to hear you’re coming to Chicago in 2011! If possible, I’d love to treat you to an unique American experience – a Cubs game at Wrigley Field (provided they’re in town that weekend).

    Also, thanks for linking back to your post, “Video: Start with Why.” I just got lost in that and subsequent stuff from Simon Sinek for the last hour. I am beginning to understand and experience the impact this had on you.

    Regarding seeing social media enhance an offline experience, I would love to see the church interacting via social channels in between physical meet-ups. I see so much potential for the deepening of relationships and ideas as well as organizational communication. For many congregations this means quite a cultural change (which they will resist). But there is so much potential!

    Als always, thanks for your leading thoughts!

  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Randy

    I can’t wait to meet ya’ll in Chicago. Would love to catch a Cubs game!!!

    What do you think of and their online church?


  • Randy Dunning

    I’m beginning to track churches with and “online campus” location. They are popping up more and more. I’m a bit ambivalent about them at this point. I currently can’t figure out if that is just some old school thinking on my part based on my pre-internet experience with church, or if it is genuine concern based on the seeming lack of one major channel of communication – face-to-face discussion which includes facial expression, voice inflection and body language. If God designed us with a spirit, a soul AND a body, then it seems to me part of our communication ought to include our body (beyond just the fingertips we use to type and click). But I also understand that for many, there may be legitimate reasons they can’t or won’t connect with a physical congregation in their community. For them, an online campus might be a very important link to the church community.

    Long story short, I’m just observing and thinking at this point.

    Any thoughts about online campuses on your end?

  • / Scott Gould

    I think digital connection follows natural connection – always seeking to increase our connectedness and not just staying at a “hello” or “Tweet”

    See: /scaling-the-levels-of-social-communication/

  • Erik Posthuma

    Great thoughts Scott,

    I’m working on a little project myself where we’re using some great technology to connect different stakeholders to each other in a mutually beneficial way….I know vague. I’ll tell you all about it once we get going!


  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Erik – please do keep me in the loop.

    How are you BTW?

  • Anonymous


    Sorry, I’m late to this discussion.

    What’s my best experience of Social Media extending an event?

    Eventprofs and the EventCamp experience. This one is unique as eventprofs is a community that was birthed in social media–primarily in Twitter, through twice-a-week moderated live chats. That community wanted to meet face-to-face and some of the leadership created an Unconference style EventCamp. The experience was livestreamed from NY’s Roger Smith Hotel in February 2010 and reached people across the world. EventCamp also created an online eCommunity for people to communicate, outside of Twitter, both before and after the event.

    It was so successful, that it birthed local and regional EventCamps. EventCamp Twin Cities was held recently and extending the community experience. EventCamp East Coast will be in November. And then EventCamp Chicago will be in February 2011.

    What’s the success to extending the one-time reach to an ongoing conversation? Empowering community members to lead, facilitate, co-create, collaborate and become story-sharers. Once we empowered individuals and provided the platform, they’ve kept the conversations going. The face-to-face experiences actually augment the online relationships.