How Microsoft Used Microblogging for Their WinDays Conference

Microsoft WinDays

Microsoft’s business marketing focuses on events, such as the 2000 people strong WinDays conference, held every year in Croatia. Microsoft WinDays is the biggest regional IT conference that spans 5 days of presentations, workshops and parties. This year the conference once again took over the seaside town of Opatija. Microsoft wanted to add some advanced online community elements to WinDays, so they came to us for an easy and fast solution that would work.

The Dilemma

Microsoft logohundreds of people attending and even more browsing the official website, the community space needed to support both the informative and casual needs of Microsoft WinDays. With the event date close, it needed to be implemented fast in order to give people a chance to test the network even before the actual event.

The attendees included IT professionals, web professionals, software developers, business people, the media,… No matter in which particular field they worked, these people know how to use technology and expect the best. No kiddie social networks here, just the real deal that saves people time or gives them something worthwhile.

Ready for Talk

WinDays Talk

WinDays Talk

As you already know, Shout’Em is a hosted solution. This meant we could get the Talk WinDays network up and running in a matter of hours, not days or even weeks. We tweaked the design to be more inline with the overall branding and set up the domain name. Since the network needed to be an integral part of the WinDays website, with the ability for private domains we activated Talk.mswindays.com.

The focus of the activity of the network would be a week long event, so there was no need for the typical microblogging “follow” feature. The default view users got was the public feed, which made it easier for them to meet new people of similar interests. With most of the participants of the conference using Microsoft’s LiveID, we integrated the ability to log in to the network with it. This let users start using the Talk network as fast as they noticed it.

The Results

Full Integration for Microsoft

Full Integration for Microsoft

Although it was impossible to foresee how the network would be accepted among the participants of Microsoft WinDays 2009., we were pleasantly surprised. Not only did the microblogging conversation start heating up, with people discussing what’s going on at the conference, but Microsoft’s own team was using it for their own communication as well. Feedback? You have Shout’Em. Comments? Shout’Em. Suggestions? You guessed it.

Ratko Mutavdzic, Director of the Microsoft WinDays Virtual conference had this to say:

Shout’Em proved as a great communication and collaboration tool – I have to admit that it almost stole the whole show. People used it intensively during the conference and even the organization staff used it for their communcation. We definitely saw the great potential of Shout’Em – and we’re looking forward to useing it again on our other conferences and events. Let’s not forget: the ShoutEm team are great people – always willing to help and to collaborate. It a was really a pleasure to work with them.

For 5 intensive days, the Shout’Em powered network provided the community infrastructure for the conference, letting people discuss technology and IT trends. What can you do with Shout’Em?

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  • Those were great times!

  • Sarco

    Yeah, it was so great that MS is ditching it this year and using the good ole Twitter. So much about it… And calling this article a case study is really lame. Ivan, have you ever really produced a *REAL* case study in your life?