Tag Archives: lanyrd

A quick video tour of Lanyrd

I’ve waxed lyrical about how much I like Lanyrd, the social conference website, before. I bumped into Natalie and Simon again at the Brighton Mini Maker Faire this weekend, actually – and Lanyrd just turned 1 last week!

I’ve been helping to curate some of the event pages for things like OggCamp and BMMF recently. After my recent mention of Lanyrd on UUPC, it struck me that I was getting a few people ask how to do things like linking to coverage of a recent event, or saying things like “I’m not on Lanyrd, can you do it for me?”… when they do indeed have profiles on the site, since they are on Twitter and someone has already added them as a speaker at an event, for example. It’s crowdsourced social event management, folks – similar to a Wikipedia for conferences, if you like – have at it, get in there, and add the information that makes it more useful to all of us 🙂

Anyway, with that in mind, I thought I’d do a really quick screencast to point out a few of the main features. Hope it turns out to be useful!

Disclosure: although I talk about it a lot, I have no direct interest in the company, site or service – I just think it’s incredibly useful and the team behind it are lovely people!

Update 7th Sept: Lanyrd just announced new investors – so it is onwards and upwards!

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OggCamp approaches!

I’m getting quite ridiculously excited about an upcoming event…

I’m good friends with the team from the Ubuntu UK Podcast and have been privileged to be invited onto the show as a guest host twice now. They’ve partnered with the Linux Outlaws to create OggCamp for the past three years and this year, finally, I’m able to attend. I admit that it helps that the venue this year is reasonably local for me! I’ve also volunteered to assist as official Crew for the event, so I’ll either be very visible, or barely visible at all 🙂

I’ve blogged fairly frequently about my OSS, Linux, podcasting and social passions so I imagine it’s not a huge surprise to regular readers that I’m excited to finally have an opportunity to be involved. Laura has written about the rapid run-up to the event, and I hear that tickets may be becoming available from returns at the moment, so if you are interested it is worth checking back. I’ve also set up the OggCamp 11 page on Lanyrd if you want to add the event feed to your calendar. I’m also fairly certain that a good gaggle of MQTT geeks will be in attendance (the mosquitto project was born from the first OggCamp in 2009), so I’m looking forward to meeting folks!

Lanyrd – a social conference tool. It rocks.

As an early adopter, I do spend a lot of time discovering new sites and online services, and giving them a try. If I’m honest, the number of those tools that actually stick is remarkably small.

One recent discovery that has stuck is a site called Lanyrd. That’s like, you know, lanyard – the cords you use to hang conference badges around your neck – without that second ‘a’ – cunning, huh? So this is a site for the social web that lets you track, mark and organise your attendance at conferences, and see what your friends and contacts are interested in, too. It was created by Natalie Downes and Simon Willison – I’ve known of Nat since the BBC/Yahoo! Hackday in 2007; I can’t remember whether I’ve met Simon. Lanyrd was something small and experimental, but they’ve recently been part of a Y Combinator funding round and bootcamp, which is terribly exciting!

So what’s so cool and useful about this, and why would you want to use Yet Another Social Site? I have absolutely no formal affiliation or connection to the service, I’m just a keen user, but here are my top tips and likes.

Firstly – low barrier to entry. If you’re on Twitter, you can quickly login and get your social graph pulled in. Once you’ve done that, simply start to search for events that you’re attending, or flip through to see what your friends and contacts are attending or “tracking” (have expressed an interest in watching), and click the button to register interest or attendance.

Once you’ve done that, you can go grab your ical feed from Lanyrd and throw it into Google Calendar or similar. There you go – nice way of marking out the conferences you want to track or attend. So it’s cool for discovery and for calendaring.

For conferences themselves, you get the opportunity to create an event with a unique URL, get a quick glance at who is attending, add a hashtag, location and timing information, and create lists of sessions. That’s great ahead of the event… but what about afterwards? Well, here’s what I think is a really cool feature. You can attach all kinds of “coverage” to an event, be it slides, audio, video, liveblogged information, blogged write-ups, etc etc. So your point-in-time event suddenly gains a social and historical footprint with an aggregation of all the content that grew up around it, which people can go back to. You don’t post the coverage directly into Lanyrd – they don’t own or keep anything – you just link everything together.

Finally, for me, is yet another killer feature. Once I say I’m a speaker at an event, Lanyrd will build me a speaker profile. So I get a single page calendar I can go back to that lists the events I’ve spoken at, and which probably has all my slides embedded (yes I know Slideshare can host the slides, but it doesn’t build this kind of profile for me). Oh, and there are nice widgets to make this kind of calendar embeddable on other sites, so you can have a record of where and when you spoke, and where and when you’ll be speaking next.

Nat and Simon have done a truly lovely job with Lanyrd and are constantly tweaking, improving and adding features. Saying that, I hope it won’t succumb to feature creep, or becoming a lightning rod for spam events as Upcoming and other sites seemed to in their later periods. If you’re running a conference or smaller social meeting which is going to have speakers and attendees then I think it makes a lot of sense.