There isn’t a virtual substitute for face-to-face communication, but there are ways to create an online social experience that’s exciting and engaging. Too often, online events start to automatically emulate what we’ve come to expect from similar digital products: Netflix, YouTube, and more. These services create a one-way flow of information that’s engaging for film, but not socially stimulating.

So how do online event organizers create social experiences that stick? They can:

  • Generate interactivity that simulates a two-way, in-person conversation. For example, polls, live chat, and commenting.
  • Use small group workshops or “Brain Dates” (1-on-1 conversations with random peer viewers) That let viewers become participants. Getting attendees on webcam or audio allows them to engage with the material in a more meaningful way.
  • Integrate leaderboards with usernames to create competition between viewers. Competition is known to increase motivation to and can gamify the virtual event journey into a more thoughtful and complete experience.

Organizing a virtual event that is socially engaging requires a variety of 1-on-1, small group, and large group viewing experiences. Variety is stimulating and so is competing against fellow viewers to view the most material and score the highest.