Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Visual Thinking School: Finding other visual thinkers


As Dave outlined previously, running a Visual Thinking School (VTS) style event isn't all that difficult, some supplies (pen & paper), a space and idea will go a long ways. That said, I'm sure some of you are thinking "Sounds great, but a party of one isn't going to be very fun".

Believe it or not, finding other visual thinkers isn't that hard - here in Toronto I've run four VTS events, dubbed "VizThink", with the fifth in the works for October 11th. Our first "VizThink" event was about 18 people and since then it's grown continually. Registration is up for VizThink5 and we're looking like we're going to hit our venue capacity again (we've basically had full houses since VizThink2), and this is for a Pictionary Tournament!

The reality is these events have grown through word of mouth using a few free tools online. In this post I'll outline some of the tools I've made use of to help promote the events and hopefully help you connect with the visual thinkers amongst us.

1. Uncover the ones you already know.
You probably know more visual thinkers than you think - it's important to remember that the VTS concept isn't just for artists, anyone can contribute and find value in these sessions and there's a lot of people out there who'd take a picture over the thousand words.

The easiest first step to take is to let the people you know what you're trying to put together. For VizThink1 I literally let my friends know (through email & other conversations) what I was planning to do and immediately had 10 or so folks respond and express interest. This was enough to give me that extra nudge to take the idea further and set up an event.

2. Facebook
There's an active VizThink community forming on Facebook - you will find it here. There's almost 200 members at this point from all over the world. This is a great place to see if anyone near you is participating and interested in helping you get an event off the ground.

If you do plan an event be sure to post it on that group as well. You can create the event in Facebook yourself or I'd be happy to add it as an event for that group.

If you haven't used before it's basically a site for posting event listings. It seems far more popular in North America then other regions of the world but there are events listed all over the place. Many people found the Toronto VizThink events through this site so I'd highly suggest that once you have a date & time post your details here as well (if you don't have a venue yet just enter TBD - usually someone will have already created a fake venue called "TBD" in your city).

4. Blog it!
Got a blog? Post it there. Also - let us know and we'll be sure to make mention of it here on the Visual Thinking School blog as well. Ask your registrants to blog about it as well - word of mouth is the best way to get people out.

The real key is to setup a central registration point - Facebook & Upcoming both allow people to indicate whether they will attend or not but in order to do that they will have to register with the site , which may turn some people off.

We're working on getting a dedicated VTS/VizThink Wiki setup but in the interim all of the previous VizThink event pages can be found here. Feel free to add your event here and use one of the previous event pages as a template. The format for naming your event page is VizThinkCity# - where City, is where your event is taking place and # would be 1 in this case. When we do get the wiki up I'll move everything across.

Also, if you need any help or just have questions feel free to drop me a line ryan.coleman (at) or get involved in the mailing list - sign up using the form in the sidebar, or go here.

1 comment:

Riaz said...

Meetup sounds like it would be perfect for VizCamps