i participated in a strange hybrid online gathering today: it was a real-time interview (think event chat) hosted on an asynchronous application (think message boards). so, all participants had to manually refresh their browser every time they wanted to view new conversation, and no one could tell how many people were in the audience attending the event. there will be a transcript of the event afterwards, which generally generates at least 10X the traffic of the original event.
my experience today reminded me of one of the more intricate event chats i helped to choreograph and moderate: it involved a moderated interface where moderators could approve incoming questions before publishing to the audience, a guest, a guest typist, 2 moderators and 200+ attendees. our team pre-prepared some seed questions and a list of "Fun Facts" to fill any left over dead time - it was a rush to moderate and fun to attend! you really got a sense of attending a live event with a crowd of people.
it made me think of the benefits/drawbacks of IRC applications in general. imho, the benefits of attending a live event with real-time software seem to outweigh the drawbacks of a losing people in a download/potential browser incompatibilities/security issues. There are many scalable, stable real-time event chat applications, such as volano
, that don't require a user download and have been around for almost a decade.
i've tried live online events both ways now, and i definitely advocate for the real-time experience!