Last Updated on August 11, 2014 by Tim
While IdeaCloud isn’t a new start-up, it is a new tool that software consulting company Ideanotion created with event organizers in mind.
IdeaCloud fuses Twitter and Instagram activity to make a “real-time animated mosaic of tweets and pics”, as founding partners Bryan Xu and Raymond Tsang call it. IdeaCloud is mainly intended for event and conference organizers to help improve engagement with attendees – but it also allows organizers to gain insight into their audiences with greater potential for post-analysis.
The draw for event attendees? Aside from the striking visuals, it’s a cool way to share their experiences and interact with others at events.
IdeaCloud initially was intended to be a one-off project to build a fused Twitter and Instagram wall for the Confoo Conference (a web technology conference) in 2013. Ideanotion developed the front-end and another company built the back-end.
Because the feedback from that event was so positive, Xu and Tsang decided to spend a few weeks reworking the front-end’s aesthetics and building the back-end. And IdeaCloud was born.
Since its launch, event organizers have used IdeaCloud at several events – from a University of Toronto Alumni event held at Ripley’s Aquarium to the Mississauga Arts Council’s awards show.
How it works
To be clear, IdeaCloud isn’t for everyone; it’s a paid service. There are different pricing options, but the most basic starts at $149.99 for seven days of unlimited use.
Once event organizers sign up and subscribe to the service, they can then access their dashboards to connect to their Twitter and Instagram accounts and create and customize their clouds.
The customization options are endless. Organizers can choose to have their clouds displayed as a picture wall, word cloud or as a big tweet. They can customize colors, fonts, and how long a post is displayed before a new one takes its place. There is even HTML and CSS capability so users can change the design of their clouds exactly as they see fit.
After design is sorted, users define their clouds. This is essentially listing the Instagram tags and Twitter keywords and hashtags users want their clouds to search for. Then, based on the defined search terms, IdeaCloud pulls relevant pictures and tweets in real-time to display.
Finally, a cloud’s content needn’t be a free-for-all, because IdeaCloud grants users full control over what appears in their clouds. IdeaCloud allows event organizers to moderate content by opting to approve every post submitted or even by blocking specific accounts and tags.
At first glance, the main benefit for event organizers is it gives them control over design and content.
But the analytics potential is also really attractive. A challenge many event organizers face is eliciting audience feedback to understand what worked, what didn’t and how to adapt their future events accordingly. IdeaCloud provides at least a partial solution by allowing event organizers to poll audiences and analyze trending topics.
For event goers, Xu and Tsang say that “one of the coolest potential (uses) of IdeaCloud might be to “game-ify” social media. For example, using tweets and Instagram pictures in scavenger hunts or challenges will not only allow event organizers to engage their audiences but also provides event-goers with a fun way to meet new people and experience an event.”
Now, while IdeaCloud is a well-designed tool, there are still some drawbacks. For instance, when defining your cloud, only one Instagram tag is supported. Why such a stringent limit? Surely one or two more tags – at the very least – could be supported. We’re hoping that opportunity comes available quickly.
Given the trend for IdeaCloud based solutions havn’t caught on quite yet, it might even make an event more memorable. And isn’t that what every event organizer strives to do?