We’ve been quiet for a while, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy! WordCamp US 2016 is happening this week and along with it events orbiting it like Post Status Publish and varies parties and meetups. Therefore we are throwing out a beta “checkin” page devoted to make checking into these with your conferencia account as quick as a few seconds. Even if you don’t have an account, you can just tap a social network (or you can register the old fashion way by clicking on our register link).
Why checkin? Let people know you showed up – and you can find that person you met (but didn’t get a name for). This is all beta on our side because we are just beginning to expand monitoring conferences to include the meetups/parties of those conferences as well. It’s going to be fun!
We are also going to be updating shortly on some other polished items… so another update in the next 24 hours!
Feel free to contact us with questions or if you see a bug.
Deciding on Emoji Icons
We are going to be offering a short list of emojis for speakers as we start to build upon our speaker app. The speakers can add up to three additional emoji (the heart emoji is the one emoji that comes standard for all speakers).
We believe most choices should reflect a clear positive or neutral message. However some feedback we got suggested some speakers might want to choose on their own a potential “negative” emoji (like 💩) or a few silly options (maybe to show BIG appreciation someone in the audience throws some 🍩 at the speaker).
In any case, if you want to give any feedback or suggestions you can leave a comment here or bug @dimensionmedia on Twitter.
Conferencia Now Has It’s Own Slack App!
We are proud to announce that Conferencia has it’s own Slack app. Yes – you can now do searches and get details on WordCamps and events… from the comfort of your own Slack channels! I would love see people install this for their own Slack teams and let us know what they think!
You can download the app and see a screenshot or two from our Slack information page: conferencia.io/slack.
Remember that we are just starting out with WordCamps, and we are already reaching out to other conferences to add them to Conferencia’s growing database.
Proud to say that this app has been running on PostStatus Slack (if you don’t know what PostStatus is and you deal with WordPress, then definitely check them out) and while it needs a little polish it works like a charm. We’ve even added some easter eggs and jokes to make it more fun to abuse… er, use.
Please reach out to us with feedback or to report bugs on our Slack app!
Updating Ticket Dates and Speaker Call Windows via @ConferenciaBot
One of the first things built on conferencia.io was the main event page where all current events (and some recently ended ones) are listed. There’s even a tab called “my events” (it’s a third tab if you’re logged in). In these listings for each event, conferencia attempts to tell you when tickets are available and when speaker applications are being accepted.
If an event is not being manually managed by a conference organizer or representative, conferencia attempts to find out on it’s own regarding ticket and speaker calls. And while we are gradually tweaking the formula, speaker calls are still the hardest to figure out automatically.
Wait… we are getting to the point… I promise.
So we want it to be easier for organizers to control these things so that the event list is more accurate. So one way to make this faster and easier is to bypass logged in and manually updating these variables. Hence, @conferenciabot is born.
@conferenciabot is simply a twitter account that you can send requests to. Right now, an authorized twitter account can request the bot to update the starting or ending dates of the tickets and speaker call windows.
Here’s how it works:
@conferenciabot only responds to Twitter accounts that are associated with conferencia events. For WordCamps this is usually the official Twitter account for that WordCamp.
A flip must be switched for each event by the event organizer that permits @conferenciabot to make changes on request.
A tweet is sent. The tweet must have the hashtag for the event (#wcmia for example) and either a #tickets or #speakercalls hashtag. The tweet should also be similar to “@conferenciabot tickets available today #wcmia #tickets” or “@conferenciabot speaker calls open 6/13 #wcmia #speakercalls” or “@conferenciabot tickets available tomorrow #wcmia #tickets”.
Eventually our bot will look at Twitter and process the requests.
If the process is successful, @conferenciabot will reply back to the Twitter account.
We beta tested this over the weekend and so far it’s been working nicely. However it still needs alot more testing, and we still need to document this so new conference organizers to conferencia can get up to speed quickly.
Hopefully this feature will allow at the very least conference organizers to keep the conferencia.io/events list more accurate and therefore more valuable to everyone.
Speakers Can Now Add Talks!
After some great feedback from early beta testers, we decided to add a new feature and see where it takes us. Read below to see how you can add and a talk, and how this feature might grow.
Here’s some ground rules to start:
– You do not have to classify yourself as a “speaker” to add talks. This was done on purpose because some people might have done talks or been on panels but not officially call themselves a “speaker”.
– However, in order to add a talk you need to associate it with a conference… which means you need to choose the “i am/was a speaker” on a conference page.
– We’re still in the early stages of this feature. UI is going to be improved but for now we’ve kept it simple – just need to tell us the talk title, the conference, and where the slides are located. You also have the ability to tell us if the talk was actually a panel.
Ok that sounds great… what’s the first step?
Choose “My Talks” from the “events” menu in your profile.
Go to the “Edit” section and add a talk. At this time, you can create as many talks as you need. Each talk needs to be associated with a conference YOU ARE ALREADY MARKED AS A SPEAKER WITH (see above). If the event is not in the dropdown, go to the event page and make sure you are attending and marked as a speaker.
You can view the talks on the “public” tab.
Help Us Test!
It should be clear that we are NOT expecting you to HOST slides at conferencia.io. In fact, you can’t. And we don’t think this will ever be an option. You should be comfortable hosting slides where you want.
We would love your feedback and a few minutes of your time adding some talks. We already have some great potential features and tools tied into speaker talks.
Event Broadcasts / Videos
This past weekend, we were able to put up the proof of concept of monitoring the following from a conference (thanks to a little outside help during the WordCamp Northeast Ohio conference):
– Official livestreams
– Periscope Videos
– Vine Videos
The “official livestream” is actually something the event organizer enteres and provides information for. For example, WordCamp Europe 2016 has a live video stream and there’s information on it’s conferencia page about this.
Perioscope and Vine videos are found if they are posted on Twitter with the event hashtags.
Admittingly, at least with WordCamps (which conferencia is starting off with), not alot of either Periscope or Vine videos are made during conferences. But it does happen. Now that we can catch these, we’ll be able parse them and alert users (if they want this information) via notifications. These videos might be nice for someone virtually monitoring the conference.
Emoji and Mentioning Users
Two nice additions to event “update” pages, which attendees and organizers are meant to watch for and add updates (some of the updates are sent to users who opt-in for notifications).
1. Thanks to iMath’s BuddyPress Reactions plugin, you now have the ability to add emojis to updates (just start typing a colon – “:” – to start the list of emojis). Better than that, you can add “reactions” to updates people make! See the screenshot below – currently there are about seven or eight reactions. These reactions include star, heart (favorite), wave, smiling, microphone (in case someone gave a great talk). All positive emotions/reactions. It’s really cool to play with.
2. You can now mention users in an event update and get a special “autosuggest” box. Just start the mention with the “@” symbol. See the below screenshot.
Tracking Event Tickets And Speaker Calls
We are moving out code that will attempt to post when tickets go on sale for events and when speaker calls might be open. We are starting with WordCamps because – well – that’s the most common event type for our current audience.
Tickets are easier to deal with but sadly there’s no good way to determine speaker call windows, at least automatically. It’s something we are going to work on but for now the events page is now updated with labels. We are tying this into our “notification” system so soon if you follow a particular conference early enough you should be able to get ticket and speaker call alerts.
The automatic system we have in place will never be perfect, but it’s mean to be a system used if the conference owners/organizers don’t update things manually. More update on this to come.
New: Event Notifications
Just added to conferencia.io – event notifications for members. Right now, the focus is (1) general information, (2) ticket availability, and (3) speaker calls. Here’s how it’s going down.
Select Your Notification From The Event Page
You can check off what you want – you could have all three, just one, or any combo.
Adjust How You Want To Be Notified
Go into your settings and select HOW you want to be notified.
“Web” is standard notifications… the same notifications you get when you click on the notifications icon in your header (the bell).
“Email” is just what it sounds like. Tweaks are still being made, but the goal is to deliver a once-a-week newsletter with the latest notifications (example: one of the conferences you are following is opening up tickets sales next week). Nobody loves a barrage of emails, so we are not looking at overloading inboxes.
“Slack” is something i’m personally proud of, since many of the community is a member of a Slack channel and somewhere. There’s a new “Slack” tab in settings that allows you to connect Conferencia.io to your Slack.
Here’s an example of a Slack notification (just an early preview):
Here’s an example of an email notification (again just an early preview, and using BuddyPress’s new mail APIs):
This is all Beta, and still setting up the automatic timing of the scripts, but most of the code is in place. Testing ahoy!