As part of ApacheCon Europe 2009, we're offering a social network where attendees can meet and connect before the event. It's a large event this year, so we want to make sure you get as much out of networking in the lobby as you do from the sessions.
Sign up and browse the network on CrowdVine.
What should you do once you're in?
- Add a picture. That'll help people put a name to a face.
- Fill out your profile. This will help people find you.
- Contact the people you want to meet.
- Check out the session list and select the ones you are most interested in attending.
- Rate sessions (this helps us plan future conferences)
- Create a personal schedule for the event
We've expanded on some of these activities below, but CrowdVine themselves are happy to provide support, answer your questions, and give tips on how to make the most of your experience. If you have any questions you can contact their support directly.
The more complete your profile the better, it's how people will find you. You're probably familiar with profile questions, so we'll just highlight a key profile item that is unique to ApacheCon profiles.
If you are a contributor to an ASF project you should enter their names in your response to What are your favorite Apache projects? or What Apache projects have you contributed to?
Responses to these questions allow people to find one another based on their engagement with, or interest in specific projects. By clicking on the project names in a profile you will be taken to a list of people who are active on or interested in the same project. This is a great way to start your network on CrowdVine.
You can use CrowdVine to contact people, however, the goal here is to set up meetings at the conference itself. Do you remember that old fashioned networking technique that kept the world turning before these new-fangled social networking sites, well that's what we're trying to achieve here.
You can mark people as "friends", or you can give kudos by indicating you are a "fan", but most importantly you can indicate that you "want to meet" someone. It's this last one that we really like.
When you indicate that you want to meet someone, they are notified of your request and your network can see that you want to meet them. You can use the private messaging tools on CrowdVine to set up a meeting at the conference or, if you notice that two people you know have indicated they want to meet you can arrange an introduction. The schedule tool also helps finding people you want to meet, this is described in the next section.
It's also worth noting that when you mark people as "want to meet" their profile picture is easily accessed from you profile page, this can make life easier when tying to spot someone in the conference crowd.
There is a full schedule in CrowdVine, this provides a couple of advantages over a printed schedule, or event the one on the ApacheCon site. There are the obvious advantages, such as knowing it is fully up to date, but you can also use the schedule tool to find the people you want to meet. By cicking on a session you can see who is interested in attending. Anyone on your "want to meet" list will be clearly marked, finding these people in a session is a whole lot easier than finding them in the corridors.
Once a session has completed you can provide feedback about the session. This is very important, as it helps the speaker improve their session and helps in planning future conferences.
You can create a personal schedule by clicking on the little "plus" sign next to a session. This will indicate that you are interested in attending and add it to your personal schedule which appears to the right of the main schedule within crowdvine. Once you have completed your schedule you can export it as an .ics file to be imported into your favourite calendar tool.
You can add various feeds, such as your blog and twitter details, to your profile by clicking on My Profile -> Add Feeds. The results are aggregated on your profile page. Blog posts are also aggregated in the main site (see "external: blogs" under "activity" on the home page)
There's much more to CrowdVine than the features mentioned here, but these are the things we think are most important in geting the most out of CrowdVine for ApacheCon Europe 2009. Setting up your profile takes only a few minutes, yet it will save you lots of time when it comes to networking at the conference.