San Francisco – One of the most highly anticipated social media/web 2.0 conferences of the year ended much earlier than expected today due to poor planning on the organizers. What was hailed as the “must attend event of the year,” the Social Web Extravaganza Business Expo (SWEBE) was forced to shut down three days early due to lack of access to a cell phone or wireless signal, and no usable power outlets.
“Look, we warned attendees well in advance,” said event organizer F.T. Bailey, “it’s even part of the byline of the event – ‘Prepared to be charged and connected’…look at the sign!” Mr. Bailey added, pointing to a banner in an empty auditorium.
Almost immediately, problems began to surface when excited seminar attendees were routed to the concrete basement of the hotel. Cell phone signals were immediately lost, causing audible groans to rise from the auditorium.
Then, things took a turn for the worst when it was discovered that absolutely no wireless signal was available throughout the entire building: “Our apologies,” stated a recorded message that repeated over the loudspeakers, “in an effort to curtail costs, internet connectivity is currently not available. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
To add insult to injury, it was soon discovered that only one power outlet was available throughout the entire conference area, and it wasn’t compatible with any known electronic plug. One attendee took this picture on his iPhone, just before the device lost battery power:
When reached for comments, agitated attendees were quick to weigh in on their concerns:
“No wifi, no cell phone coverage, no power…c’mon, it only took two hours before my Android phone shut off – this is unacceptable, and not worth the $250 price admission!”
“I couldn’t get on Twitter for more than 45 minutes…how are my peeps going to know how horrible the event was? I need to find an outlet quick, so I could Tweet this travesty!”
Event organizers, after making a variety of excuses, quickly ducked out a side-door, presumably to recharge, reconnect, and write “plausible deniability” posts on their blogs.