Please Stop Fighting the Netflixification of Content Consumption
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
An open love letter and plea to the events industry
Dear event professional and colleague;
Please, I’m unclear as to why you keep designing your virtual events to be held over hours and sometimes days at a time. In addition, you only feed me pre-recorded content and information on potential partner companies that I can easily source for myself. I have no desire to sit in front of my computer for hours on end and listen to talking heads. In addition to work, I’m juggling parenting and survival, and I am eager to engage with people and not just be spoken at. I have some solutions for you, but first let’s clearly identify the challenge.
Why are you resisting what I refer to as the Nexflixification of content consumption? For years now, I have been re-trained from my childhood days of being present in front of the household TV (only one in my house!) to watch a much-loved show where I learned to perfectly time my bathroom use to a commercial break and negotiate with my family over the sole use of the VHS machine to tape a beloved show. I have raised my son for 11 years in a world where the pause button is common-place and he still doesn't understand why commercials cannot all be fast-forwarded during Giants games (yes, more on the trauma of supporting this team and the importance of loyalty in another post :).
I consume content when and where I want to (just like 99.999999% of everyone else).
Sometimes that is for hours on end and sometimes it's during a 25 minute window when I am preparing dinner. In either instance, Netflix changed the game and provides content on a platform for us to consume at will and in large volume. Other platforms and entertainment have followed suit. Many of the podcasts I listen to also release their entire season at once. So please, when you are conceiving your event, unless you are giving me a good reason to actually be present at a pre-prescribed time, understand that I will (or will not) most likely take advantage of the fact that you are recording the content and will watch it when it best fits into my schedule.
What will get me present at a specific time (a la, the pre-pandemic days of attending a conference or trade show) is personalized and interactive content and opportunities that will not be available to me at a later date). Just a few examples:
Breakout rooms with facilitated discussions and problem solving
Think tanks with people I would otherwise not have an opportunity to collaborate with
Impressive intimate keynote with live Q and A
Hands-on project or exercise that you've physically mailed to me that I'll need to "show" to others.
Product demonstrations with time sensitive discounts and offers
Networking with people I want to meet with - use my demos and ask me questions and deliver on them
Short spurts of time (I am even willing to participate at that same time for a few weeks).
So please, understand that my needs are the same as just about everyone else right now. I know you are working super hard on your events. You are a survivor and you’re doing your absolute best to keep your community connected. No doubt you are passionate and you are resilient and capable of greatness. I know you are capable of delivering events to me and to your many, valued constituents that are worthy of our time. You are too special a human being to waste yours.
A fervent supporter of you, our industry and live and digital events.