1/12/2006

How I Know What Really Happened at CES (hint: The NYT didn't mention it) I confess I've always wanted to attend the Consumer Electronics Show, which just wrapped up in Las Vegas. As soon as it opens, I begin following the news to see what kind of cool tech gadgets will captivate attendees and grab the attention of the media. CES is a type of barometer for relevance. It's where companies roll out "the next big thing" and predict the future for technology, which usually means the future of our lifestyles. Like most people, I read and heard about what the keynoters had to say and I perked up when I learned about some of the new products coming out of major companies. But frankly, it wasn't the evening news or even in the daily papers that I found out what I really wanted to know. The lanyard-wearing geeks actually at the show gave the real scoop. CES offered bloggers an amazing amount of fodder. I loved reading the reactions of attendees and seeing through their eyes what the future looked like. It's far more interesting to me to hear what a bytehead with worn sneakers thinks about CES than to see a polished evening news report that has been edited to death. That's the beauty of blogs... they're immediate, real, uncensored and equalizing. I read accounts of CES from CEOs whose companies exhibited, to journalists, to spouses of attendees. It's buzz marketing at its best. I checked out companies I probably would have never heard of unless I had read about them on a blog. THAT's the power of this medium. Terry Brock, a syndicated columnist for the American Business Journals, and a good personal friend of mine (www.terrybrock.com) wrote daily reports about his experience at CES and even included little movies he produced right on the spot where he walked into the booths of lesser known companies and interviewed the exhibitors about what they had to offer. He was, in essence, an "imbedded journalist" reporting from the front lines. I was grateful to have his perspective on what's "hot." HIs reports, combined with those of other attendees helped me get a real sense of what really went on. If your company is attending a trade show, whether it's an industry-specific event or a more general show like CES, consider how you might create buzz about your offerings by blogging right from the show. You might be surprised how many other bloggers and blog readers are in the hotel rooms surrounding you! Better yet, what a great way to reach people all over the world who can't attend the shows and who don't have access to the trade journals that cover them. Relevance is often driven by speed and I think blogs offer us a way to quickly show our relevance in a fun, casual way that just can't be as effectively accomplished through press releases and video news releases.

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