Virtual event

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A Virtual Event is a gathering of people sharing a common virtual environment on the web, rather than meeting in a physical location. Virtual events are highly interactive, looking and feeling a lot like their physical counterparts. Popular uses of virtual events include virtual tradeshows [1], virtual job fairs[2], virtual conferences[3] and virtual company-wide gatherings[4]. Virtual events are used to deliver presentations, trainings, departmental meetings and sessions led by stakeholders from company executives to product management and human resources. They started to become increasingly popular during the late-2000s recession as they offered an economically and environmentally effective way to bring thousands of attendees to an event from around the globe[5]. Virtual environments are becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. For marketers, virtual events provide a rich source of marketing data, because every activity of a participant can be tracked and evaluated. A virtual engagement index is a variable to measure interaction quantity and quality of participants.

Virtual events can offer a number of ways for participants to connect and communicate. Webcasts include live presentations or pre-recorded videos where the presenters are available for questions and answers at the end of the session – a technique called Simulive[6]. Virtual booths, forums and designated meeting places allow participants to connect with event staff or fellow attendees using online chat, video and voice. Participants can leverage their social network within the event to form interest groups or find like-minded individuals. They can also share the findings with their online communities, often leading to viral popularity of an event.

One of the key differences between virtual worlds and virtual events is that a virtual world is available as a persistent environment, even after the live part of the event is over[7]. Many organizers are moving from episodic events to a continuous virtual engagement of their customer and prospect communities. This permits attendees to return to parts of the event to see a complete session again, review content or gather additional information. Typically, virtual event organizers allow attendees to store the information gathered in a virtual briefcase, which can contain marketing collateral, as well as contact information of people they met, presentations they attended and content of conversations they held.



Cyberspace Tradeshow Brings Action to the Desktop[1] Heather Clancy, NYT, Sept 12 2007

Virtual Conferences Home Advantage[2] Rachel King, Business Week, May 5, 2008

The Virtual Global Office [3] Rachel King, Business Week, May 2, 2008

Next Generation of Business Software [4] Brian Bergstein, USA Today (AP), May 11, 2008

On the Job: Virtual Jobfairs expand search options[5] Anita Bruzzese,USA Today (AP), July 25, 2008

Interview in your Pajamas [6] Tara Weiss,, Oct 8, 2008

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