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How can face-to-face events help build community and traffic for our site?

Remember when the Internet was going to make face-to-face communications a thing of the past? It turns out that online networks and face-to-face relationships actually reinforce each other - a lot. Combining the connectedness of the always-on Net with the power of real-world contact strengthens relationships in both spheres.

So when you find ways to bring your virtual community into the physical space, where your members can actually meet each other, you're dramatically increasing the emotional clout of their next online encounter. You're giving them an opportunity to plan more offline activities that can deepen their relationship, or have a concrete impact on an issue they both care about. That in turn lends more meaning to their online activities.

You can do something similar when you find ways to extend a physical meetup into the online world. Liveblogging, podcasting, taking live questions via a channel like Twitter - these can all help you extend the impact of your event many times farther than it could otherwise go, while drawing in outside energy and ideas from the Net.

One last advantage: face-to-face events will often draw people who haven't come to your site, but who will hear about it at the event; your site will draw people who might not otherwise attend your in-person events. That can build a virtuous circle... one that can help put your community on a sustained trajectory for growth.

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Extend your real-life event into valuable content for your online presence

Live-blogging is when bloggers offer real-time reporting or commentary on an event as it occurs, often updating a single post multiple times with new information as the event unfolds. And it can extend the reach of your next event well beyond the doors of your venue... provided you know how to make it work for you.

Giving smarter and more to your cause, through mashing a holiday tradition with online fundraising tools

An innovative player in social fundraising has introduced a new take on the old UNICEF coin boxes. Like their predecessors, kids take GiveMeaning's Pig-e-Bank BankBoxes from door to door at Halloween and collect change from their neighbours. But once they get those boxes home, things take a decidedly modern - and thoroughly social - turn.

How to liveblog effectively without alienating your real-world audience

Night two of our podcasting experiment finds us talking about the Super Tuesday election returns - and the phenomenon of live-blogging. We have our share of pet peeves about it - the way live-blogging an event can keep you from really participating in it, and can disrupt the people around you. But we also discuss live-blogging's genuine power, and give you some questions to ask before you crack open the laptop at your next public event.

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