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The Short Version: Many online video platforms are limited when it comes to hosting events. Shindig, on the other hand, gives hosts control over next-level breakout rooms, Q&A features, and criteria-based participant matching that elevates virtual get-togethers. These tools give dating industry professionals many opportunities to host powerful speed dating events, conferences, seminars, and classes. Ultimately, the Shindig team wants virtual events to feel as personal and intimate as real-world gatherings.
When community meets technology, wonderful things can happen. Not too long ago, Fandom, the largest fan wiki platform in the world, used Shindig, a virtual event-hosting platform, to create a series of trivia-style events for its active users.
Shindig has real-time, interactive Q&A which connected Fandom’s hardcore fans with the editorial team asking about their interests. Specifically, the team created a series of questions and brought the attendees to the virtual stage to answer them.
“The ongoing Fandom 5 Trivia series has engaged thousands of fans across communities from Nintendo to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing attendees onstage for real-time, prize-winning trivia competitions and allowing the Fandom team to use the event series to bring on corporate sponsors like Wendy’s, who sponsored the most recent Rick and Morty Trivia series,” the Shindig team explained.
Rihanna’s company Savage X also hosted its Pride Celebration on Shindig. Savage X’s goal for the event was to bring together thousands of fans and create a branded experience for its new collection. Many musical and drag artists performed at the event, meaning that it was necessary to bring performers to the virtual stage seamlessly.
Participants at the Savage X event could socialize, mingle, network, and connect in free-form private video chats. Shindig delivered a virtual social experience that was everything promised by the metaverse — without need of headgear or VR equipment.
“Shindig became a virtual club for this event, with multiple rooms for each artist to perform, including the Main Stage, Lounge, VIP Room, and the Virtual Lobby. Guests could seamlessly move between rooms to check out all the performances, and connect in video chats,” the company said.
Shindig offers the dynamics of an in-person event online. In addition to Q&A features, the platform lets organizations or individuals host lectures, seminars, conferences, interviews, and other types of events that host thousands of participants.
Though organizations and individuals are already taking advantage of Shindig’s video tools to host events, there are many opportunities for professionals in the dating sphere to use Shindig for virtual singles events, including conferences, lectures with interactive Q&As, and speed dating.
Shindig’s speed dating and singles event potential may even exceed in-person alternatives. The problem with in-person speed dating is that participants have to introduce themselves to other people again and again, which can grow tiresome. Instead, Shindig’s “name tag” feature allows participants to identify themselves, and state their jobs, cities, interests, or other relevant topics.
Hosts can also create icebreaker events with a few questions that attendees answer upon entrance. The information will then be displayed as part of their name tag.
“Everyone in the event gets to introduce themselves and then when they get paired up, either because they get automatically paired or because they choose to pair up, they don’t have to repeat that basic information over and over and over again,” said Steve Gottlieb, the company’s Founder and CEO.
Furthermore, Shindig hosts can make use of the platform’s Private Chat features, which lets from two to 12 people assemble in small groups for discussion. This would be an ideal tool for automated speed dating in the virtual space.
Hosts can create events with an activity that allows people to get to know one another. A lot of people don’t know what to talk about during singles events, so, for instance, hosts can play a video and then ask participants to discuss it among themselves.
The host of an icebreaker event also can bring people up to the virtual stage or open a podium for those who wish to jump up and give a brief introduction on who they are and what they’re looking for. That way, once the breakouts between individuals start up, singles don’t have to repeat the same basic information.
“You could have a matchmaker curating the conversations by saying ‘Here’s a conversation topic for you guys to talk about,’ and so each discussion has a basis for continuing, and it’s not relying on people’s own ability to kind of break the ice,” Steve said.
Steve said he wanted to develop Shindig because he understood the need for a video platform that better mimicked real-world events. He explains how these virtual events imitate the kind of connections that attendees make in physical get-togethers.
“We hosted a Harvard reunion with 800 people with a DJ on the stage. Hosts can turn down the volume so guests can talk over it. There’s an emcee. And then the audience members can all click on one another’s guide and form their private chats. So it’s very much like any style – any kind of in-person event, you can move around the event, and mingle and network and socialize,” he told us.
Unlike other virtual platforms, private chats and breakout rooms aren’t isolated from each other, either. At the Harvard event, for instance, attendees in private breakouts could still hear the DJ’s music.
“You can scroll over the music or the DJ or the emcee and lower that volume or raise it. Hosts have a master control, but if someone puts the volume up, attendees can still control the volume yourself,” Steve said.
If two virtual daters like one another, too, they can lock their conversation so it’s not disturbed. Similarly, if singles at an event aren’t comfortable connecting with someone until they approve them first, they can lock their profiles, so they have to OK a request before entering into a private chat with someone.
Participants are easily brought to the “stage” with a single click under their profile. Hosts simply click “Spotlight” to bring a user forward. They can also connect by clicking “Text Chat” or “Video Chat” on a user’s profile.
“Shindig would allow a unique new type of online dating experience. One where you might combine elements of speed dating with more social experiences where people can pair up in small groups with one another by choice,” Steve told us.
Users appreciate Shindig because it’s easier to use than Zoom and more resilient for private chats. So, hosts can deal with issues off-stage rather than in front of everyone else.
“You might have an assistant, for example, help you produce the events, and then they can talk to people backstage before they take the stage and make sure that their audio and video is perfect,” said Steve.
This feature is called Video Chat Backstage, and it’s where hosts can prepare speakers to be spotlighted or decide whether attendees’ questions are appropriate.
Another unique feature not available on other video hosting platforms is that each of Shindig’s event splash pages is customizable. Hosts can choose event titles, subheadings, logos, URLs, and other features to create on-brand experiences for guests.
Shindig certainly is a hit. It has hosted events for FLOTUS, Sheryl Sandberg, John Legend, Michael J. Fox, and Kevin Smith, as well as reunions for Harvard and Yale, and VIP events and conferences with networking lounges for Fortune 500.
Though Shindig already has made waves with celebrities and industries, the company is looking to expand its partnerships with dating sites and professionals.
“We want to develop things like karaoke for singles, trivia for singles, and different kinds of singles events and book talks. So, we’re looking for entrepreneurs in the dating space to partner with,” Steve said.