Part 2: Getting ready for #Leweb: Get on twitter, download the information and plan your time
It is only a few more days until Leweb and the weekend is a good time to start thinking about networking and how to use the time in Paris. The program looks impressive but as usual, Leweb and other conferences of this size are best used for networking and connecting with like minded or interesting people.
First things first: Networking is a real skill and there are people out there, who are not only are really good at it, they are also charming and exciting to talk to and with. Meet Colette Ballou (@coletteballou), who’s article “Hold on – who are you again? Networking tips in time for Le Web” is not just good for Leweb but for every other conference. Go over there, print it out and put it in the folder with stuff to read on the plane. She describes mostly on site stuff, mine is a little bit more about what you should do before.
Let’s get started with the conference tool number one: Twitter.
Get on with twitter and look at the searches
- Don’t have a twitter account yet? Get one or you will hate yourself because you missed out on all the real fun and more importantly on all relevant information. It is okay just to have one for this event and then stop it again. It is also the quickest way to post photos from the event.
- Learn how to use the search: Visit search.twitter.com and enter the term “Leweb OR leweb10“. This is where all the information will be in real-time or to be more precise already is. Not Facebook, not the web: conference communication is on twitter.
- I have not tested this, but if you use the Twitter app with your Facebook profile, it should automatically connect you with all the people in your FB who are also on twitter. Easier version: Use the participants list and click on their twitter profiles and follow them just for this.
- Private messages can only be sent to people you are connected on both sides, but most people I know do have a so called Vanity search setup (take a look at mine). If you know the name of a person, use their name with an @ in front and they will see it. If in doubt, use their full name, people usually have that included in their search.
- If you are really lost, now is the time to find somebody you know and bribe them to show you the few things you really need to know about twitter. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
Prepare your mobile devices
- If your social network of choice allows downloading your contact information, now would be the time to sync it. Don’t forget to add your mobile phone number with country code!
- Make bookmarks for relevant sites.
When at Leweb, you do not have the time or Wi-Fi access to surf as you usually do. Quick solution: Visit all sites you find relevant and then mail yourself this link list. Access this from the mobile phone one by one and make a bookmark.
- Install all relevant software on your mobile devices and test in your home network, if Twitter, Facebook and co work. During the event, this software will help you save data transfer. Yes, you could use the mobile websites but these apps are much better and usually they can reuse lists and searches you have setup before on the desktop tools or website. This could be a good time to test out the mobile versions of Seesmic, the company of Loic Le Meur. It is also a good test if you have all passwords with you.
- Test to upload a photo to your sharing site of choice. Tip: Use twitter and the build in feature to send to sites like Twitpic.
- Setup your mobiles for offline use. Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a conference, where each attendee is at least going to have one gadget with them with Wi-Fi, probably more. It is always a struggle to connect on these events and usually it does not work when you need it.
Examples of information you should be downloading
- email addresses + phone numbers of people you want to meet
- screenshots of maps with all relevant locations
- the program and the participants list
- addresses of venues of the parties, including the trip information going there
- reservations for hotels / flights
- given the current weather information you might also want to add information from the airline you are using
- [what did I forget? please add in the comments]
This is best done into a simple text file which you also can print out in smaller print to take with you. I prefer the file based Dropbox for this: It syncs with your hard drive and has mobile apps for most platforms. I like to save my information to a special travel folder then sync it from there to the different devices I use. F.e. Goodreader for the iPad does connect to Dropbox.
For screenshots I have been using Snagit for years, its profile feature is worth the price alone. My travel profile saves all screenshots automatically to my travel folder. This way I can go crazy on the screenshots and know they all will be saved where I need them. I not only use it for images but also screenshots of text I want to remember. If you don’t want to pay right now, think about testing out Jing, the little free brother of Snagit. My friend Betsy Weber (@betsyweber) is the evangelist for Techsmith and also at Leweb; she has lots of experiences and connections in Europe not just for screen casting.
Decide how to spend your time
Look through the program and decide, which slots you really cannot live without. Everything else is optional and the time can be used in a more productive manner. This includes the parties: In theory it sounds like a great ideas. But as Leweb is such a huge event, chances are that most of them will be overcrowded and loud. Spend your time with others and don’t be shy to ask others if they want to go dinner some place. If in doubt: Go to bed early and rather use that additional two hours in the morning at breakfast to meet people (and this is coming from somebody who loathes events starting this early). Back to the event.
Leweb offers a unique choice of attendees from all over Europe (yes, and the world) and should be used as such. Decide what you are interested in for yourself and let others help you find counterparts in other European countries. You don’t want exchange with other Europeans? Think again: Even if you do not want to connect, you could learn a lot from them and apply what they do locally in your country. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Start with the official blogger list and move on to the participants list. Don’t forget the workshops, startup presentation plus demo booth and the sponsors. Put some time aside to go through the exhibition hall because even if you are not interested in the products; do not forget that the people there might be able to connect you with others you are highly interested in. As the vendors who is there and if they can connect with somebody. A good start is to look again at the participants list or choose the live version on Amiando where you also can search.
Which leads us to the most important tool of the event: Presdo Match. I have collected some tips on how to “Part 1: Prepare your Presdo Match profile for #Leweb” in the next article.