Can Conferize finally socialize conferences?

I read that Conferize had worked their way into the Red Herring top 100 European startups. That led me to login and take another look, since I have always wanted some company to crack the code of building a great social experience for conferences. Perhaps my interest is a bit parochial, since I am a regular conference goer and speaker, but I have always thought that the right kind of social application could make the experience richer for attendees, gather more useful feedback and other information for conference organizers, and perhaps provide more value for sponsors (although I am least interested in the third use case).

As Conferize puts it on their website,

The stage is yours

Conferences shape people and professions. We’ve known this since the ancient Greeks gathered in the agora and put their minds together to solve important issues of life and enterprise.

Today most professions have their own conference scene in every major region throughout the world. Over a million conferences are held every year, involving hundreds of million of attendees, offline & online, and a vast body of dynamic knowledge.

As our world continues to get more complex, more connected and ever more globalized we are under pressure to adapt and change, to learn and be inspired, and constantly build our personal network. The conference is the perfect solution: A social space like no other, created for knowledge-based interaction, human enterprise and sheer excitement.

Yet when it comes to conferences in the digital age, much can be improved. What you see on today is the first fundamental attempt to bring transparency to conferences themselves, as well as the influencers and knowledge related to conferences. We call it The New Conference.

Please join us in our quest to reinvent conferences and professional events for the 21st century.

Since I am writing this in Lisbon, where I will attending the Social Now conference tomorrow and Friday, I started by trying to look that up. Conferize needs to work on their search approach, because searching for ‘social now lisbon’ led to an incredible number of false positives, including an education conference in Tipperary Ireland.

I created the entry for Social Now — which was painless — and added a few speakers:



The categories used on Conferize are way too large-grained. I suggested in a support message that they should consider an adjective/noun model. They could keep the general categories they currently use for classifying conferences and user preferences, like ‘business’, ‘software’, ‘startups’, and ‘sports’, and treat these as nouns that can be modified by a second list of adjectives, like ‘europe’, ‘US’, ‘future of’, ‘lean’, ‘extreme’, and ‘social’. Then you can construct phrases like ‘extreme european sports’, ‘lean business’, ‘the future of social software’, or ‘lean US startups’.

I wonder what they’ll do with that advice?

Over the next few days I will coax some other at the conference to sign up, and I’ll see how the social stuff works, in real time. More to follow.