Is it possible to use Facebook, the free and very popular social network, for your own online conference? If you think about it, maybe Facebook is the ultimate web conference? Let me try to explain.
But first, what is a web conference really?
The Internet has brought forth some very useful innovations for small business owners. It provides many ways to make communication quicker and easier between the businessperson and clients, prospects, or partners. One of these useful innovations is web conferencing.
Web conferencing is a way for people to communicate and collaborate from their computers. There is no travel necessary, and planning is much easier than it would be for a face-to-face meeting. A web conference is convenient for all parties involved, because there is no need to extensively rearrange your schedule to attend.
Web conferences usually include some form of online communication, such as a chat room or instant messaging, utilizing either text or voice. They may also incorporate video, in which case it would be considered a video conference. It’s also possible to coordinate the online meeting with a conference call. This is good for participants who may not have a microphone or a fast, reliable connection to participate in voice chat.
What purposes can web conferencing serve?
Web conferences can work well for a variety of meeting types. Some companies hold online expos with multiple presenters that are relevant to their target markets. Others use web conferencing to get service providers together to collaborate on projects. They are also handy for employee or contractor training when the employees or contractors are not in close physical proximity.
Communication with prospective customers or partners is another application that is well suited to web conferencing. Presentations can be held online through chat sessions, and points illustrated through a website or slideshow. You can also use video, either live or recorded, to present products or ideas.
What about those who can’t attend?
Even though web conferences are less expensive and more convenient to attend than those held at a physical location, there may be some people who can’t attend. But this group doesn’t have to be completely out of the loop. You can offer information from the conference for download.
Audio files from phone calls, video from the conference, and chat or instant message transcripts can be posted to your website for download. Those who weren’t there won’t get the opportunity to ask questions in a group setting, but they can benefit from the information that is there. If you’re charging for admittance to the conference or going for an air of exclusivity, however, it may be best not to post transcripts, audio or video.
Web conferencing has come a long way in a few short years, and it will undergo more changes as time goes on. But it is already becoming quite popular among business owners. Web conferencing can allow you to take your business to a global level without leaving your office.
So, how can Facebook be the ultimate tool for web conferences?
First of all, Facebook is extremely popular. Most people I know are using it, and most people who are involved in Internet Marketing and some sort of online business are using it. So, if we could use Facebook for web conferences, they wouldn’t need to download anything new, they would already be familiar with the community and the tools they are going to use.
As I wrote in an earlier post, Facebook has launched their own real-time chat client. I am not sure if more than two people can use it to communicate, but if it’s anything like MSN, and hopefully it is, a group of people can use it for a web conference.
You can easily use Facebook to invite people to an event, like if you are going to hold a web conference. This way, it will be easy to communicate about everything regarding the event (the web conference) before it will actually happen, you can send mass messages to all the people who have accepted the invitation.
Now, when it’s time to hold the web conference, would it be possible to use pages at Facebook? Well, I am not really sure. Pages is almost like interactive communicate. You could use it for all the relevant information regarding the web conference, publish links, video, audio or what ever type of information you want to share. You could then communiate almost in real-time with your members using your pages wall. They can use the mini-feed, and while your web conference is live, your members can write posts on their blogs and it will show at the conference page at Facebook if you just import them using the mini feed.
Facebook is indeed a very interesting choice when it comes to web conferences, I have never tried it, and I am not sure if anybody have tried it so far. But I know that it can be used and that it probably will be used sometime really soon.
Is Facebook the ultimate tool for web conferences?