If you are wondering what the difference is between webinars, web conferences, and webcasts, don’t worry because you are not alone. The different types of online informational sessions that there are out there will be explained. The most important thing is that if you are holding one of these types of events, be very specific and descriptive about your invent and if you are attending a webinar, web conference, or webcast, be sure to read about it ahead of time and investigate what type of event it is going to be. Here are some general definitions of the three types of interactive online events.
Being able to meet with others or hear presentations online offers many benefits over in person conferences. Here are a few benefits that all three online interaction types offer:
- Targeting: you have the ability to target your audience with specific advertising.
- Scope: the internet makes a large audience a possibility.
- Immediacy: no need to schedule and plan a conference, get the message across right away.
- Low Cost: both the organizers and attendees have a much lower cost that setting up a convention or speaking engagement and having to travel to the single location where it is being held.
- High Tech Image: online interactions such as these are perceived as advanced technology, they come off as being professional and forward thinking.
A webcast is like a broadcast. It is usually one person, or multiple people giving a presentation. There is not any interaction from the online audience who can be listening or watching video of the webcast. The best example is to think of it like a radio station broadcast over the internet or a television station simulcast.
Benefits of a webcast include:
- Repeatability: it can be played over multiple times on demand.
- Shareability: The first audience isn’t the only audience. Because webcasts can be repeated, attendees can share the cast with friends or colleagues.
- No scheduling of attendees necessary.
A web conference is similar to a regular conference or convention, but is held over the internet rather than in person. The difference from a webcast is that a web conference is more like a meeting online. Sound, video and even computer screens can be shared between the attendees and depending on the conferencing software, the members may all call into one phone line to speak to each other if that is not an option over the computers. Online web conferencing allows for interaction between presenters and attendees. Different settings can be enabled to allow conference members to take turns speaking and sharing information.
Benefits of Web Conferences:
- Closed, intimate setting
- Controlled environment
- Time saver
Webinars are actually a type of web conference; they get the name from being a seminar over the web. In most cases a webinar has a presenter and although the software might allow attendees to interact, there can be restrictions in place so that they cannot interact or see each other. Some webinar tools allow for questions to the presenter only, and are usually features that can be turned on and off.
Benefits of Webinars:
- Interaction and questions allowed
- Teaching and learning friendly environment
The internet and technology has paved a path for innovation and convenience. Both businesses and individuals can really benefit from using all three of these online engagement features to better themselves. Just remember that if you are organizing a webinar, webcast, or web conference to be sure to give a detailed explanation of exactly what type of event it is since these names are so easily confused. Include details on what attendees will need to have with them to optimize their experience. Attendees of online events like these should read the fine print and get all the details so they know what to expect and can get the most out of these money saving and convenient communication tools.
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Brian Lakeman is author and Brand Manager for Activ8me, Australia's leading NBN Satellite provider. His writing experience is primarily online in the form of blogging, he contributes to numerous websites in the internet and computer industries. Brian's capacity as Brand Manager allows him to explore various marketing avenues for Activ8me, all over the world. You can find him on Twitter and Google Plus.
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