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New Site Generates Buzz for Annual Conference
 

By Aliah D.Wright  4/27/2012
 


People are positively buzzing about the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Annual Conference, and a lot of it has to do with SHRM’s new Buzz website,
http://buzz.annual.shrm.org.

But that’s not all.

For the first time, those attending the conference at Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center will have their very own social media space just like the HR bloggers. This one is called The Hive, a 3,000-square-foot space in the lobby of Building B where social media novices can mingle with experienced users to learn about best practices, network and access the Internet in a relaxing environment. It is open throughout the conference.

“The purpose of the Buzz site was to complement the main conference website [http://annual.shrm.org] to allow us to provide more information to attendees based on the many questions we’ve received from people about the conference,” said SHRM Director of Social Strategy and Engagement Curtis Midkiff.

Midkiff hopes that conference attendees, speakers and other interested parties will use the Buzz site to “share their perspectives or experiences.” The site will aggregate related conference materials from other social media platforms, including SHRM Connect, Facebook, Twitter and the SHRM Blog, “so people can see what others are sharing about Atlanta on the site.”

The Hive

Offline, conference attendees can enjoy a new conference experience at The Hive. The social networking hub will be open noon-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 23; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 24; 7 a.m.-5:15 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, June 25-26; and 8 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, June 27. It was designed in response to member feedback, Midkiff said. “Members wanted an additional location within the conference site to network, and there is more emphasis and desire to learn how to use social media tools in their jobs. We created The Hive in response to that feedback, and it’s going to have multiple components that we’re really proud of,” he explained.

“The Hive is a key part of our strategy around delivering timely and useful tools and information to our members,” added SHRM Vice President of Meetings and Conferences Lisa Block. “We envision The Hive to be a spot that members return to throughout the conference to make connections, learn about social media and get demos of our apps. We hope that The Hive will attract members who are not savvy yet in this arena as well as folks who live and breathe [social media].”

One of the apps is the SHRM 2012 Annual Conference & Exposition App. Available online and for Droid, Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, the app is powered by ADP Inc. It puts the conference in the palm of one’s hand. Among other things, it provides maps of the convention center and exposition hall, speaker bios, conference session details, preconference educational offerings, a list of exhibitors, interactive schedules, and links to Twitter, Facebook, the Buzz site and the SHRM Annual Conference TV channel.

Sponsored by Dice, The Hive will feature a smart bar area “that will allow attendees to get individual consultation from experts in the area of social media as it relates to HR,” Midkiff said.

“In addition, we will have informal presentations about topics from noted experts—like social recruiting, social media policies, social media tools and the like”—all in an interactive, rapid-fire format, he said. “People are encouraged to bring their own devices because we’ll have wi-fi access throughout that whole area where people can get online.”

Midkiff said his hope is that, as people relax, network and catch up on e-mail in The Hive, the space will present “additional opportunities for people to engage and increase SHRM’s social engagement, which is a way to enhance the conference experience.”

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow her on Twitter @1SHRMScribe.

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