Recapping the Radian6 User’s Conference

Last week, several members of the 360 Digital Influence Team had the opportunity to take part in the first ever Radian6 User Conference. The conference brought together customers, industry practitioners and, of course, several members of the Radian6 team to participate in two days of new product announcements, sharing of best practices and general frivolity that comes from a social media conference. Truthfully, the conference offered so many potential takeaways that it has taken me this long to put them onto paper

The conference can be broken up into three distinct components (after the jump).

First, the product announcements:

  • Radian6 Insights The first major product announcement came on Thursday morning when Marcel Lebrun unveiled Radian6 Insights. I’d encourage you to check out this video outlining the product as it does a much better job than I could do. Here’s what it means to us from my point-of-view – more sophisticated text analysis capability. Heavy users were beginning to move toward API access where they would take raw data and plug it into a more sophisticated business intelligence tool. Will this stem that tide? Time will tell as the product gets rolled out more broadly. However, I think it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Engagement console If you are on the engagement side, you’ll love the new features coming to the Radian6 Engagement Console. The primary one is managed accounts. Think CoTweet meets the power of the Radian6 dashboard. The second is an extensions gallery. This is going to be a developers dream scenario. Not only will you be able to engage and analyze through the dashboard, but you’ll be able to add extensions for twitpic,, Klout (save your opinions on Klout for another post), etc..
  • Klout integration This is probably the most controversial thing announced during the week. As part of the new Radian6 Insights product, the user will be able to access Klout scores for users talking about their brand. I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of Klout, but I do think this is a step in the right direction. If there’s someone on the back end to scrub the scores, which there will be with integration into the R6 dashboard, the numbers become somewhat more believable. However, Klout should NOT be used as a substitution for a more sophisticated influencer analysis approach.
  • Mobile Radian6 announced a summary dashboard view on mobile devices coming very soon to topic profile owners. Again, this is a very smart move by Radian6. They are providing a solution that spans engagement and analytics professionals, though that line is certainly blurring.

Second, the content

  • Panel on influence My participation in the event was a panel on influence in social media on Friday afternoon. I think this is a very important topic for people to understand, and clearly the conference goers agreed. There were lots of positive tweets following the panel, but I think we’re a long way from understanding the topic. I’d encourage you to read more from Philip Sheldrake on this topic (including his upcoming book) if you want to understand influence even more. Bottom line, and I think this came through in our session, is that influence and reach is not the same thing. Your influence analysis should be a combination of metrics related to reach and relevancy.
  • Overall content I don’t know if this is a function of having low expectations for content at conferences or the tremendous thought given to the panels by the folks putting together the conference (combo of both, probably), but the content at the User Conference was very, very good. It was a mixture of content for the analyst and for the engagement professional (this line is continuing to blur, for the better).

Finally, overall perceptions of the conference/people behind it

  • Smaller is better with social media conferences I don’t remember the exact number (I think it was about 500) of people who attended this conference, but whatever the number was it was the right number. It was the perfect size to be able to network with people, and still learn a lot without being overwhelmed. I know this is a fine line to walk because conferences want to make money, but capping the list of attendees at a smaller, manageable number would be a move in the right direction.
  • Lauren Vargas – She deserves her own shout out She was one of the primary drivers of the conference and did a phenomenal job. Being a part of BlogWorld the last two years, I have a sense for the work behind something like this. Not only was she managing the conversation flow around an acquisition and new product announcements, but she was also responsible for handling a lot of the logistical elements behind the conference. Kudos to you, Lauren.

At the end of day 1, the #social2011 hashtag generated more than 10,000 tweets. That’s incredible. A testament to the organizers and the content. Here’s hoping we have a second user conference next year.