You know the problem, back from the summer break, and now the invitations to the various trade shows are rolling in, too many of them to go to all of them, but must get some feel for what is happening… Used to be reasonably easy when there were a handful of well known mainstream shows, and maybe a couple of major vendor events. Now there are new events appearing, and disappearing, as fast as products arrive and depart, and just so many of them as well. Go to the wrong event and it’s really rather lonely as the handful of attendees all seem to be members of some ‘in club’ talking amongst themselves.
What’s needed is the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ to tell you where everyone else is going and using their choices to help guide your own, and here it is at “Upcoming Yahoo“. The site is for all type of events, with a series of categories to help, but strangely enough there isn’t one for IT, or Technology. I did briefly consider that we might fit under ‘education’ or maybe even better under ‘comedy’. Why is it strange? Because if you use the choice button ‘most popular’ events regardless of type, then today more than half of the top twenty are technology events.

The current top event is TechCrunch20 in San Francisco, which I hadn’t heard of, but sounds really good, and I can see why so many people want to go. Or do they? This is where it gets interesting, because I have a choice of saying I am going, or saying I am watching, see this page. So now we have a choice of travelling there to network, or doing it on line; just to help with the latter I can see all the 304 people who will be online, and get in touch with them to collaborate in discussions on the content.
Now I can ‘go’ to more events, saving time and money, pretty green too, and get the one thing that seems to be of increasing value, networking with others to learn from their experiences. After all the products are all on line already so the content side is not too difficult to obtain, so I am increasingly of the opinion that attendance at events is around ‘networking’.
And that’s where the Web 2.0 aspect of ‘Upcoming’ really kicks in, you can set up your own page, in the manner of Facebook, list the events that you are going to, or watching, so your ‘friends’ know where to find you, or on what to ask your views. This builds both ways because you get to see where they are going to, so now you have a real formula for proactive networking. As an example, the ever popular Robert Scoble of blog fame.
And the point is? Wikis and Blogs are really little more than a starting point in a changed way of Social Networking, or as I prefer to call it ‘interacting’. Upcoming represents a real combination of Web 1.0 content with Web 2.0 collaboration, but has the addition of a structure. It’s this last point that is beginning to emerge to sow the seeds for Enterprise 2.0, the moving of the key characteristics of Web 2.0 towards a structure that business could use.
As it is there is real value in Upcoming to both find out about events, and get some views from others. But start thinking about how to use the structured networking in your own organisation to being people, events, experience etc together. That’s what I am looking for in Enterprise 2.0!