Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ARCHIVED: Mondays with Myrt discusses NGS' short-sighted policy

 Are you up for a lively discussion about the National Genealogical Society's 2017 Conference Social Media Policy prohibiting audio or video recording in the conference exhibit hall? This week's Mondays with Myrt attendees certainly provided opinionated feedback. Facebook Live, Periscope, DearMYRTLE's AmbushCAM and live-streamed mini-classes, say at Lisa Louise Cooke's always popular booth, will no longer be permitted unless a fee is paid in advance. You'll find the official policy listed here: http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/press/social-media-policy that reads in part:
"Except by specific prior written permission, NGS does not permit audio or video recording devices in the Exhibit Hall or in the presentations at the NGS Family History Conference."
👉 We understand no recording during presentations in conference classrooms and that "verbatim info is to be limited to a few quotes." We agree that rude classroom attendees disrupt conference sessions by taking pictures of every slide of a presentation. That simply must stop, as this is clearly a copyright violation. 

👉 Why have exhibit hall restrictions? It is impractical to expect all to check cell phones at the door before entering the exhibit hall.

 👉 Vendors responded to a post in a closed Facebook Group, Genealogy Business Alliance where Article 22 of the 2017NGS vendors contract was quoted as "No live streaming without permission and an additional fee." See: NGS' Official Exhibiting Regulations Agreement located here: http://conferencengs.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Official-Exhibiting-Regulations.pdf where it states:
"22. Use of Exhibit
a. Exhibitor shall not stream live or recorded video or audio broadcast any content from the Exhibit Hall without the knowledge and written consent of NGS. Any live streaming or other broadcast transmission of content from the Exhibit Hall will be by special arrangement only. An additional mutually-agreed-to fee to be paid by the exhibitor will be required."

NGS wishes to control contact and financially benefit from every conversation that will happen at it's annual conference?

WHAT'S SOCIAL MEDIA if it isn't spontaneous? It's free publicity that builds excitement and encourages people to come to a conference. See DearMYRTLE's "Do conferences need bloggers?" Amy Johnson Crow, Dick Eastman and Ol' Myrt here, or instance, typically go around and take pics of vendor booths and attendees - sending out info via social media posts. My AmbushCAM interviews spotlight the well-respected vendors as well as new products and services. That's free publicity for all involved. Why should NGS require advanced, written permission when such encounters happen on the fly, say, during a lull in the exhibit hall, or between classroom sessions?

Official sponsors Ancestry, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, MyHeritage use audio and video equipment to teach mini-classes at their booths - but as official sponsors they've paid much more up front than a typical vendor.

The "permission and additional fee" impacts those such as:

👉 a much smaller, multi-booth sole proprietor who holds innovative, live-streamed, 20-30 minute mini-classes in her booth
👉 others like myself who don't rent booths, do pay full conference attendance and roam the conference looking to record attendee feedback and spotlight products and services

The aforementioned, innovative, live-streaming vendor telephoned an NGS rep for clarification of the Official Exhibiting Regulations but found no fees could be quoted. She also reported that NGS intends to strictly enforce the no live-streaming policy.

The live-streaming fee schedule for vendors, bloggers and vloggers has not been published on the NGS site, yet other costs associated with attending the conference, luncheons, ordering syllabus and renting vendor booths are clearly stated. (I cannot share the names and directly quote because the information was shared in the closed Genealogy Business Alliance Facebook Group. If you are a member, you will find the post here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/genealogybusinessalliance/permalink/1648833705424221/ )


While the 2017 NGS Conference Social Media Policy and Official Exhibiting Regulations Agreement are short-sighted at best:

👉 The NGS Conference Social Media Policy somewhat addresses copyright infringement issues for conference presentations. (How about requiring room monitors to eject offensive attendees, calling in backup via cell if unable to resolve the issue personally?) 

👉  The NGS Conference Social Media Policy contradicts the Official Exhibiting Regulations Agreement shooting itself in the foot when it comes to capturing benefits of social media. (21st century businesses live or die by social media.)

👉   The NGS Official Exhibiting Regulations overly-restricts vendors who will choose to spend their conference dollars at larger, more progressive national and international conferences such as RootsTech and Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree.

Had I not researched the Official Exhibiting Regulations for this post, I would have arrived at the 2017 NGS Conference only to be turned away, owing to:
"25. Exhibitors' Protection
No firm or organization not assigned exhibit space will be permitted to solicit business within the exhibit area or other areas rented by  NGS."
👉   That lets out the social media work of folks like Amy, Dick, Ol' Myrt and others, unless we have a booth, obtain written permission and pay in advance for our conversations with people. (Not very spontaneous, is it?)
👉   That lets out society conference chairs soliciting door prizes.
👉   That lets out society program chairs trolling for speakers. 

I've always paid for NGS full-conference access, yet I spend 95% of my time in the exhibit hall interviewing, live-streaming, networking, and posting regularly to Facebook. I enjoy learning what's new, talking with software vendors, pouring over potential book purchases and introducing new developers to potential partners in the genealogy vertical.

Mr. Myrt and I won't be attending NGS Conferences as long as this policy remains, as there is simply no place for Ol' Myrt. 

I've heard NGS could make an exception for some people, but that's giving in to a subjective call on NGS' part. If there is a rule, it should be equally applied - no favorites. No prejudices. We are either including or excluding people.

You'll find our discussion in the first 30 minutes of our Mondays with Myrt 17 April 2017 embedded below. If you'd like to read the viewers' responses, register and view at: http://hangouts.dearmyrtle.com/17apr2017mwm.html

NGS may be worried about declining attendance at its annual conference. With these strongly restrictive Conference Social Media Policy and Official Exhibiting Regulations Agreement
directives, I predict attendance will only get worse.

Hangouts: Pay what you want. So it's simple. If you value the work Ol' Myrt, +Cousin Russ and our beloved panelists do week in and week out on your behalf, please:

Check the DearMYRTLE Hangouts Calendar for upcoming study groups and hangouts. There you'll find links to the GeneaConference (in-person) and the GeneaWebinars Calendar with over over 200 hours of online genealogy classes, webinars, live streams and tweetchats from other hosts and presenters over the next 12 months.

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