SeatSPAM: Greening Your Conference Experiences

Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland

By Brian Copeland

I recently attended a conference.  I had six straight days of travel and one tiny bag to take me on the multiple city flights; so, I had no room for anything extra.  At the end of each day, I found myself swimming in “SeatSPAM.”  It wasn’t in my e-mail box, my Facebook inbox, or even my Twitter DM area.  It was all over my chair, on the limited table space I had and EVEN sitting on my Mac keyboard after a bathroom break.

SeatSPAM is the tiny paper rulers, tons of cards, note pads and standard sheet fliers that are littered throughout almost every conference we all attend.

handoutsI know we have a comments section on this blog, so I really need your help.  I simply do NOT understand.  Here’s the picture.  Every single table after the conference sat full of the SeatSPAM at the end of the day, the floor space below the tables were littered and the trash can audit revealed the death of an entire forest in rural America.  Now, to make it even more confusing, every conference attendee’s information was clearly on the website, the social media sites, and even in a Google group.

Why do we feel so compelled to litter each other with our “crap?”  I understand business cards, and I need to do better about carrying them.  Shame on me!

When I arrived in New York City for Inman this week, I “came out” to a few friends about my disgust and lack of understand of this practice, and they agreed.  It’s intriguing that as I audit the SeatSPAM, the average age of the culprits have an average age of roughly 48 to 60.  At Inman, where the average age is easily in the mid-thirties, the only SeatSPAM you get is from the sponsoring vendor or conference owner.  At max, I only received three pieces at Inman.  Hmm?

YPNs obviously tend to stray from this practice, but if you are following anyone who participates in this practice, consider the actions you can complete to green-up your real-life conference networking experience.

1.    Have your contact card complete on your Smartphone, including your photo with your city Photoshopped across the bottom.

2.    Encourage the conference coordinator/speakers to create downloadable PDFs with all attendees info, as permitted.

3.    Download the iPhone App “ForgetMeNot” to help you remember who you met, when and where.

4.    Create moo mini business cards made from recycled paper with a personalized photo from Flickr of your city as your one hand-out. http://bit.ly/3ADeh5

5.    Start a Twitter hastag for your event and spread the word to use them.  Keep the discussion flowing.

6.    Get on “foursquare” and network before, during and after while having some digital fun.

7.    Get a MiFi, name your connection the equivalent to “@NashvilleBrian’s Free Connection.”  When people open their phones and laptops, they’ll see you have connection available, free for them and grab a marketing opportunity.

You can follow Brian on Twitter: @NashvilleBrian

Brian Copeland is a REALTOR® in Nashville, Tenn. You can check out his websites at nashvilleandbeyond.com and brian-copeland.com.

Comments
  1. Dawn Thomas

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! Love this article!

  2. Nobu Hata

    Great post Brian! I can’t understand an industry trying to “go green” would down a few million trees for the sake of print collateral that will be (knowingly) filed in the trash can.

    Dear sponsors: we get it, you need to see a return on your convention sponsorship, but c’mon, strive to do something different that will truly make us take notice!
    Take some of these suggestions to heart!
    Leverage technology!

    Or sponsor recycling bins and distribute it throughout the convention center.* I can’t think of anything more high-profile that will speak volumes.

    *That sounds like a fantastic idea. YPN sponsored recycling bins at MidYear? Realtor Convention? I’m on it!

  3. Brian — You’ve hit on one of my biggest pet peeves. If I want your information I’ll gladly take it and work with you on it. But please don’t thrust your project down my throat.

    I do like the paper product over the virtual still, but if it interests me I’ll gladly pick it up as I talk to you about the product. Much more valuable to give out 100 sheets than just randomly drop 1,000 on chairs.

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