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Using Flotzam At A Conference

Jun 15, 2010 By Karsten Januszewski

Flotzam at a conference is fun. It gives the audience the ability to immediately participate in the event—their photos, tweets, etc, show up on the big screen, giving them immediate satisfaction and making them feel like they are part of the event.

If you’d like to see Flotzam in action, you can try it out by installing it yourself. Or watch videos that shows off the application on YouTube.

Here’s a guide for using Flotzam at a conference.

Flotzam and Social Networks

Flotzam works with a variety of social networks. Here’s a brief intro:

  • Twitter integrations lets you see what people are saying about the conference in almost real-time.
  • Flickr and Facebook integration allows attendees to upload their photos of the event; Flotzam will pull and display the photos.
  • If there will be a lot of on-the-fly press about your conference, Flotzam’s Digg integration will be helpful.
  • Flotzam will display any RSS feed
  • Flotzam lets you see and display Youtube videos about your conference

The end result is that Flotzam aggregates all these networks and creates a compelling visualization.

A few things to note:

Getting Flotzam Up and Running

If you want to use Flotzam for your conference,you need to do the following:

  1. Install Flotzam here: http://visitmix.com/labs/flotzam/install/flotzam.application  or download the source here:  https://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx
  2. You should have a machine with w/2GB RAM and a video card of 256MB. Be sure to test on your hardware to catch any issues in advance.
  3. The machine must have network access. Flotzam does not do well with intermittent connectivity; if you can’t guarantee a stable connection to the internet,don’t use Flotzam.
  4. Determine what feeds you want Flotzam to display.

Note that you’ll need to show attendees how to access the services you set up. If you don’t want to do this, one option is to simply have your conference folks update twitter and upload photos.
Here’s how to configure Flotzam:

  1. All settings can be changed by clicking SETTINGS AND OPTIONS in the upper left corner.
  2. If you want everyone at the event’s tweets to appear, you can create a Twitter account such as myconference, let people know about it, and then tell Flotzam to “Watch My Followers.” To do this, visit the Twitter settings panel and provide the username and password for the myconference Twitter account.
  3. If you set up a Facebook event for your conference, you can enter the Event ID in the Facebook settings panel. If the URL for the event is http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=2367953648, the event id would be 2367953648. You’ll have to provide your credentials to Facebook.
  4. You can add a different Flickr tag in the Flickr settings Panel.
  5. You can specify a DIGG setting and a YouTube tag.
  6. You can manage which RSS feeds show up, but you’ll have to do so in Internet Explorer.
  7. Lastly, select from the dropdown in the general settings tab if you want a different skin to show up.

Follow the Conversation

4 comments so far. You should leave one, too.

Craig Craig said on Jun 16, 2010

Hey Karsten, This looks really cool - any plans to create a website plugin along these lines?

Cheers

Craig

Karsten Januszewski Karsten Januszewski said on Jun 16, 2010

@Craig -- No plans. At one point a long time ago I started porting some of the code to Silverlight, but I never finished the project. But someone else is welcome to do so! Especially now that the two are so much similar that back when I took my first stab at it, which was Silverlight 2.

Paul Jenkins Paul Jenkins said on Feb 9, 2011

Really like the look of Flotzam, but it doesn''t seem to like it when i change the settings and try and save. Anyone else having problems?
Cheers

Karsten Januszewski Karsten Januszewski said on Feb 9, 2011

I think there is a bug right now with Flotzam; not sure ETA to fix...