Can Webinars Get Hip? Three Radical Ideas for Change

Between old and new media in the B2B world, there is a class that might be called middle-aged media: e-mail newsletters, webinars, and digital magazines. Though digital in nature, they have been in use for years and are starting to show their age. Like print, they will always have some role to play, but their glory years are fast receding. So as a savvy new-media type, should you write them off as tools for the future? Not quite yet—if you’re willing to try some radical surgery, at least.

What brought this topic to mind was a webinar on digital magazines earlier this week. Although I signed up to learn what the future might hold for digital magazines, my focus ended up elsewhere. For most of the presentation, I was thinking instead about the future of webinars, and how they might be made more effective in the age of social media.

The reason behind this train of thought wasn’t any particular problem with the webinar. It was as good as virtually every other one I’ve sat through. But there is the root of the problem: one webinar seems just like another. A robust medium, like print or video, should allow, if not promote, innovation and creativity, and hence diversity. Most Webinars don’t.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is nothing inherently restrictive in the technology of webcasting (of which a webinar is one specific type) that should impede creativity. The problem lies in the way this type of webcasting is typically implemented.

So here are three radical ideas for making webinars more relevant in today. I make no claim that these are practical ideas. Having sat on both sides of the screen, whether as producer, organizer, or moderator, or as an attendee, I understand the daunting nature of the hurdles.

Continue reading