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Online Collaboration Tools Pre-Event

While many will presume that a tool such as a listserv is a natural component of pre-event collaboration, several factors must be considered. First, many participants will resist the notion of yet another list or other source of additional data in their lives. In addition, many of those participants are extremely busy with their non-profit duties and will be unable to contribute to such a list, and perhaps not even read it. What can result is a list dominated by list warriors and other time privileged participants. This can in turn lead to skewed pre-event perceptions and expectations, especially among the less-than-totally-technical attendees for whom the event has been conceived. On the other hand, some participants will resent any hindrance to pre-event interaction; there is no correct answer.

That said, there is a strong case to be made for going in the opposite direction, providing not only a listserv but online collaboration tools like a wiki to allow participants to brainstorm and share thoughts and ideas in advance. But in all such situations a non-random subset of participants will drive and shape such resources, and that will in turn impact the perceptions and dynamics of community at the actual event.

Aspiration events have so far used a range of approaches to pre-event collaboration, with largely positive outcomes.