On February 21st in New York City, Forum One Communications will hold it's annual Online Community Unconference. It's new kind of conference using what is called an Open Space format - one where the participants drive the format and everyone has an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
The Unconference is a gathering of online community professionals like strategists, managers, tool vendors and business people. Here they can share their experiences, discuss best practices, strategies and tools that help companies develop and grow their online communities.
What's cool about this Unconference is that the agenda is set by the participants themselves. It makes the session more about learning than about networking. Who better to talk about real life experiences for developing and maintaining online communities that the people in the field, living it every day.
Some discussion topics that may be included are as follows:
* Community Growth Strategies
* Community Business Models / Monetization
* Community Metrics and ROI
* Reputation Systems
* Community Management
* Emerging Technologies
* Online / Offline Integration
* Switching Platforms
* Blogs / Wikis / Workspaces * Mobile Communities
* Marketing & Online Communities
* Community Legal Issues
Apparently people like the format. One participant at the May 2007 Unconference had this to say: "Unlike traditional conferences where its mainly for the networking and not for the actual content, this was different. Sitting with people that have an experience (each one and his/her specialty) contributes a lot to the brainstorming environment and I definitely heard some interesting insights that day”.
Current sponsors for the event include: LiveWorld and SolutionSet. Expect this list to grow.
The Unconference will be held in New York City at the Newman Conference Center of Baruch College/CUNY. The price is $195 ($175 before January 21st, so register early). It is held by the online strategy and development firm Forum One Communications - based in Virginia.
If you want a good example of an Unconference, see MashUps.