Friday, March 18, 2011

COD: Lanyrd is the super nifty social conference directory

Thanks to ad:tech for publishing this first!

Do you go to a lot of conferences? Or do you only go to one, and spend a lot of time selecting the perfect event for your networking and personal development? Or do you fall somewhere in between? Or do you generally not get to go to conferences for reasons of cost or schedule, but wish you could get some insight into a killer session.

That paragraph is my long winded way of saying that whatever your interest in conferences, you should surf on over to Lanyrd, a site that provides great information and connection opportunities for hundreds of conferences around the world, with more added every day.

The site connects to your Twitter, and gives you a view of the particulars of the event, related links, a dashboard of speakers, related books, attendees, a conference calendar, and loads more. Users can link assets to the event like press coverage, videos, Slide Share decks, etc.

The community is based upon the idea that users, and of course event marketers, will contribute content, as with a Wiki. You list yourself and your relationship with an event (organizer, speaker, attendee) or you can simply track an event before you commit to attendance, and be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Users can also tag events with a view to helping people find relevant by topic, geography, or whatever makes sense.

In addition to in person events, the site offers the opportunity to list and learn about virtual conferences, which are becoming more and more common.

The value to event marketers is obvious, but it also helps facilitate the networking which is a vital draw to in person events. At an event as large as an ad:tech, for example, you might never know or see colleagues whoa re attending, and your experience might be enriched by spending time with them. Similarly, it enables you to make new connections with attendees that share interests, etc.

Explore the site by topic, by event name, or drill down into a particular attendee’s profile.

They’ve also taken out a lot of the friction that you may have experienced before Lanyrd was created. For example, you can export your conference schedule into Outlook and iCal, among others. You can even get little event badges for your personal site so you can let others know where you are going to be. An even deeper level of facilitating connections between people.

I think this is big stuff for the conference ecosystem. As a means of finding just the right event, following the discussion, and connecting with others, it is unique. All these are really important services in a very crowded industry category. And given that highly competitive business, it’s pretty easy to see how this tool will become a moneymaker by providing services to events, among others.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. They are getting money and advice from Y Combinator.

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