My Infocomm 2012: Hey I Know You! … from the Podcast (Part 3)

Continuation of my Journey in Las Vegas to figure out how Social Media is changing things.

Last fall I had been asked if I would be interested in appearing on the AV Week show as a guest panelist by its founder Tim Albright (@tdalbright). I met Tim online and later connected with him via LinkedIn. My interaction with Tim was usually brief. Typically we met prior to the recording and bounced around some ideas and show topics via email. Most of our interaction was limited to messages, tweets and emails. Fifteen minutes prior to the show we would chat as part of a sound check and introductions.  Once the show started it was as if the guest panelist had just spent the last month touring the world together on small bus. The conversation in the podcast was natural and when you place AV people in a room the stories and opinions typically fly faster than fists at Jersey shore nite club. Prior to InfoComm, Tim had invited me to stop by the show’s Friday live broadcast.

Situated between the main entrance, exhibit halls, eateries and the 2nd floor escalators I guess you can say that AV Nation was at the “Center of it all”. As a whole the area outside of the main exhibit hall was a virtual beehive of activity. Apart from the show attendees and the RAVE Pubs team providing show coverage the Podcast area itself was a magnet for the curious. Groups of curious onlookers stopped and huddled around to watch the live broadcasts. Just In case you were wondering this was not limited to any particular demographic since both “New” and “Old school” AV people were drawn to it. The combined Buzz of the live broadcast and the activity of the RAVE team really drew the crowds in.

As I walked up to the location I saw Tim and exchanged a hand wave and smile from a distance as not to interrupt. I recognized a few others from their online activity and went over to say hi. Saying hi to one person rolled into 3 then 4 then more.  The first person I saw was George Tucker (@tuckertues) who was working the sound for the panel. George has been active in social media for a bunch of years and I had worked with George on the AV week panel previously. George’s handshake led to Spotting Matt Scott (@OmegaAudioVideo) which led to meeting Adrian Boyd (@The_AV_CAD_Guy) both of whom I had met on podcasts prior to InfoComm.  Standing next to Adrian was Steve Greenblatt (@stevegreenblatt) ,who is from NJ, but never met in person. Steve is also a frequent podcast panelist with AV Nation and a contributor to Publications.  When I turned to see the broadcast panel I meet Phil Cordell (@The_AV_Pro) who I’ve only seen on YouTube. His AV videos on YouTube made him easily recognizable.  After meeting to Phil I turn and meet Rebeca Villareale (@beckyreale). Rebecca had come over to introduce herself, again only from the online communities did I know these people. All of us came from different parts of the country except for Becky and Steve who were local to me and Matt who is from a different country all together. Our common bond here was more than just a presence on twitter. We all come from different aspects of AV. Some were from Manufacturers, Integrators, Residential, Programmers, Independents or consultants. Regardless of what we did or where we came from the conversation was great and we traded many of the same War stories .

Collectively we have all appeared on podcast where we were given a platform to speak out about what we love or hate about AV. In general I think the small sampling of AV professionals I mentioned are doing their part to promote the industry and shape its direction going forward. Don’t get me wrong here…this is nothing new to our industry. What is new are the platforms available to us to share our views and opinions. That is the secret ingredient to social media and how it works. The podcast location at InfoComm became the became the central hub for the #AVtweeps to gather. The term #AVtweeps, for those who may not know, is the twitter hash tag created by Johnny Mota (@JMOTA3) for the AV community on Twitter. The handshakes and hellos in front of the AV nation podcast continued the evolution of the InfoComm 2012 for me.  Apart from the introductions I finally sensed the show had a pulse that was not just marketing related.  AV had become social.

For the first time, in my experience, the show had a voice through the podcast. Tim and AV Nation team took the show from floor to bench tech in Topeka.  As an industry we have been doing a good job of covering the show both online and in print for many years but the live element had been missing.  The podcasts streamed live delivering not only new product information but the voices and opinions of the show attendees and exhibitors. To hear typical product hype from Market Managers is one thing, but to hear it from one a show attendee or tech manager is refreshing.  Needless to say that the podcast did an excellent job of making the show more personal, the listener is essentially sitting alongside the guest panel hearing the news as it happens. I personally could appreciate a live broadcast as someone who did not attend the show last year. This was a great Step forward for the show and I can only imagine where it can go from here.

To be continued…

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