I don’t need to tell you that the astronomical rise of the Internet has had a profound impact in our society and in our culture. Far more than ever before, it’s become easier to connect with other people all around the world in new and interesting ways. We still have our message boards and we still have e-mail, but communication has gone so much further than that. It’s about talking in real time. And with a rich media experience to boot.
More than a Meerkat
We can really see this in the context of social media in particular. In addition to our status updates on Facebook and our tweets on Twitter, we’re streaming live video with one another through platforms like Meerket and Periscope. These demonstrate that you don’t need a hardcore gaming rig in order to have a good experience, but I also don’t need to tell you that these mobile-centric social networks also have their limitations.
And they may not be nearly as appropriate in a more professional context, particularly when it comes to large scale events with more of a corporate or serious stance. Because of the power of the Internet, we find that the popularity of online training continues to grow day by day. It’s not just about reading e-books through a browser anymore, because students can enter a virtual classroom where the instructor can give a virtual lecture in front of hundreds or even thousands of enthusiastic learners.
Beyond the Talking Head
Broadcasting high quality video over the Internet may not be all that new anymore, but the inherent limitation has been the lack of real-time interaction. The instructor talks and the students watch. If you go to a real college or university lecture hall, however, you’ll find that it can be much more of a conversation than a simple lecture. Students have questions and input. Minds grow and mature through intellectual discourse.
Moving forward, we’re already in the midst of the next big revolution in online communication. For instance, interactive online events with Blue Jeans increase the level of interactivity with viewers and participants. Just as social media and blogging have broken down barriers and given every individual a voice, interactive online events put us all in the same room so that we can all talk with one another. That’s how we move forward.
A massive free-for-all would result in chaos and that’s why platforms like Blue Jeans Primetime are so important. The main speaker has control of the floor, but attendees can “virtually” raise their hands when they have a question to ask or a comment to add. The moderator can then invite the attendee to go live. And it doesn’t matter what platform you’re using, because the solution is compatible with a variety of systems and environments.
The Rising Demand for Interactive Online Events
The applications here are endless. Online education and training are huge, as mentioned. You can also see how this could be useful with industry events, interactive panel discussions or even movie premieres. When you consider that the recent TEDxVancouver was completely sold out with over 3,000 people in attendance, the demand to attend and connect with such events is overwhelming. What if people could attend virtually and ask questions of these top speakers too?
The Internet, above all else, has broken down the structural paradigm of the traditional broadcast. Communication online is a two-way street with an endless feedback loop. And interactive online events, far more than simple online broadcasts, represent the next logical step to take.
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