Updated May 6, 2018: Unfortunately, Lanyrd is no longer being maintained. I’m searching for an alternative site for posting conference information.
Last week one of my friends in higher education sent me a tweet. “Hey, Deborah, what happened to the blah-blah conference 2013 website? I can’t find it.”
“Not sure,” I tweeted back. “Give me a couple minutes, let me check.”
And after searching Google and Bing, I couldn’t find it either. I replied, “Looks like the site is gone. What’cha looking for?”
Crud, replied my friend. Well, not exactly. She had other words she used.
She was looking for the slides from one of the conference presentations, from a speaker whose name she couldn’t remember. The speaker had included resources on the slides that my friend needed for her new job.
My friend remembered seeing the slides listed on the conference website last year. But the site was gone.
Now, she had two options: find out who the conference organizers were or search on SpeakerDeck and Slideshare and hope to find the slides.
“Wait a minute, have you checked Lanyrd?”
“What’s that?”, my friend asked.
The best thing that’s ever happened for conferences, organizers, and attendees, I replied.
What is Lanyrd?
I learned about Lanyrd over four years ago when Natalie Downe and Simon Willison launched it. Lanyrd is a social professional events directory where you find out about conferences, list conferences, learn about people attending conferences, and where you can archive slides, notes, videos, and photos of the event.
Their one-sentence product definition:
Lanyrd helps people get more out of conferences and professional events, by discovering the right events to attend, meeting the right people while there and catching up on slides, notes and video afterwards.
For conference organizers, Lanyrd allows you to enter conference info, add sessions, speakers, and times for each session. Once you create a session and add the speaker to the session, their name will be added to the conference speaker list. The session will be added to their speaker profile page on Lanyrd.
Lanyrd works in a similar fashion as Wikipedia; anyone can add a conference to the directory, along with the information for the conference sessions and speakers. As conference organizer, you can claim your event, which unlocks features that allow you to:
- Add event description
- Add rooms for your schedule
- Control who edits your listing
- Promote ticket sales
and many other features.
I use Lanyrd all the time to learn about user experience, WordPress, and web design conferences that interest me. I can log in via Twitter, search for conferences, and easily track a conference or indicate that I’m attending a conference.
And after I attend the conference and publish my notes or write-ups, I add the info to the conference site on Lanyrd.
Here’s the Lanyrd page for Justine Jordan’s session on Responsive HTML Emails at this week’s RWD Summit, with my notes from her session.
I’ve learned over the years that conference websites aren’t always maintained, and frequently disappear from the web, just like my friend discovered. It’s great that conference organizers post a page with the slides, but if the website no longer exists, that information is lost.
Enter Lanyrd, which maintains the directory of past and future conferences, along with the slides, photos, writeups and other coverage for the conference. And since Eventbrite bought Lanyrd last year, expect more features from the service in the future.
Did I mention it’s free? The basic service is available to conference organizers and attendees at no cost. There’s a Lanyrd Pro service for companies that speak at and sponsor conferences.
So, what happened to my friend who was looking for the slides? She found them on Lanyrd. She’s thrilled.
And planning to talk to her manager next Monday about attending an upcoming higher education conference she found out about on Lanyrd.
Do you use Lanyrd to promote your conferences or find out about conferences to attend? Share your experience in the comments.