In late 2008, Michael Lotter
had a vision to promote SharePoint by organizing a free, community-driven, not for profit, one day conference that will showcase leading SharePoint thought leaders to voluntarily speak and share their expertise to benefit the greater public. SharePoint Saturday
Attended by 200 people, the first SharePoint Saturday was held in VA Beach, VA
on Jan 10, 2009. Volunteers organized the event and marketing was purely facilitated through word of mouth, social media and blogs. It was a resounding success as participants gained a lot from presentations covering SharePoint administration, development, end user and special interest tracks. Soon after, with the support of various sponsors, local volunteers organized SharePoint Saturday events in Kansas City
, New York City
and San Francisco
On May 2, 2009, SharePoint Saturday DC
will take place at the Microsoft Technology Center in Reston, VA. True to Michael’s vision of organizing the event at a grassroots level, SharePoint Saturday DC is greatly leveraging collaborative technologies to involve the community in various aspects:
Identifying Session Topics
We surveyed the DC community as to what SharePoint topics they would like to see at SharePoint Saturday DC. Through the power of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, about 180 people responded to the survey posted on the SharePoint Saturday DC website (which is SharePoint-based) within two weeks. Based on these results, call for speakers went out seeking proposals from leading SharePoint experts to voluntarily present topics
wanted by the DC community.
Communicating Event Status
Leveraging the Twitter account @SPSaturday_DC
, we were able to provide the community with status updates, gather feedback, establish dialogue with everybody involved and promote session topics of the event. In fact, when we announced that the event registration was open via Twitter, 200 people registered for the event in 26 hours.
Since there was an overwhelming response from speakers wanting to present at SharePoint Saturday DC, we introduced a webcast track. We have selected a number of sessions that will be streamed as recorded webcasts on the SharePoint Saturday DC website prior to May 2, 2009.
Enabling Live Blogging
As showcased in the recent SharePoint Saturday Atlanta and St. Louis MOSS Camp
, community volunteers stepped up to the plate and provided the live blogging platform (Thanks to Mark Miller of EndUserSharePoint.com), live multimedia (text, photos, video
, audio) coverage from these two events which benefitted folks who weren’t able to attend these events. Who needs the big media networks when the community is empowered to do it? You can expect the same for SharePoint Saturday DC.
We recognized that an event like SharePoint Saturday is a great opportunity to engage the community to contribute to charity. For SharePoint Saturday DC, we will support local charities like Salvation Army with a food drive. To make the most out of it, we’ve made the food drive into a contest. Essentially, the top 20 people who donates the most canned goods will be awarded an hour to spend with a SPSDC speaker
of their choice. You can read more about it here
. Winners will be announced at SharePoint Saturday DC, via Twitter and the live blog. Donations can be dropped off at the event on May 2 or sent to:SPSDC c/o Dux Raymond Sy
11654 Plaza America Dr
Reston, VA 20190
In the end, isn’t this what collaborative technologies like SharePoint & Twitter are all about? It enables a community to effectively self-organize. It’s about EVERYBODY (organizers, speakers, sponsors, attendees, and charities) engaging, empowering, and benefitting.