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Weaving a Web event

Communicating with a connected world is a developing art. As an information provider, we're compelled to adapt to changes in how information is relayed. And so are you.

Today the information medium of choice is the Internet. Is there any organization left that doesn't believe that? I just checked--www.tupperware.com--it's there. Everyone believes it.

Having staked a place in Cyberspace, organizations aren't satisfied to wait for passersby to stop in for a tour; they're taking their message to the people. They're sending invitations and having them in for coffee.

As we go to press, KMWorld is making final arrangements to host its latest interactive Web event. This I-conference has been modestly promoted and eagerly received. By the time you read this, we'll know how it went.

What we know already is that the market is hungry for it. Especially within the vendor community, there's keen interest in conducting virtual presentations--software demonstrations, press conferences, sales meetings--online.

While we'd like to believe that the serious interest from serious players--Microsoft, Compaq, Lotus, SAS, Brio, Baan--is because of the compelling subjects, those same subjects--competitive intelligence, business intelligence and CRM--have been covered in print for months.

Why would the opportunity to address perhaps 50 people in person and 150 people online be so much more compelling than addressing 90,000 people in print? I'm not sure.

I suggest they want the experience. Compared to traditional forms of communication, there have been relatively few Web events. Those that have happened have been kludgy and often dissatisfying. Live audio is still unstable. Video is even more so. But it's getting better, and the only way to make those events better still is to practice. Technical obstacles aside, just having the event isn't powerful enough. There's got to be an incentive for the audience. It's got to be compelling. There's no sense hosting a party if you don't know who's coming. While registering participants risks losing some of the audience, it's more than offset by knowing who's receiving your message.

But there's more driving interest in interactive Web communication than gaining the experience of how to do it.

It's the raw potential.

Just as Internet stocks are commanding stratospheric valuations despite frail earnings, the promise is in their potential.

The Internet is the loaves and fishes of information dissemination. At almost no additional cost, we have the capacity to feed millions. The Internet has provided a way to reach an audience of five or 5,000 at essentially the same cost. No printing. No travel. And most importantly, no additional time.

The race is on for organizations to master live online learning. A learning session that begins when you log on and ends when you log off. No travel time. Leave when you want. Always current.

KMWorld has billed itself as sponsor of this event. We'rereally just a facilitator. Or perhaps a witness to a fascinating change in how information is shared.

Thanks to the technical host Envoy Global (www.envoyglobal.com). Thanks to the participating vendors. And especially thanks to our ever-changing audience for allowing us to watch.

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