NEXT maximizes reach, engagement with Livecube media app

Nicole Burdakin

Social media is integrated at new depths for an upcoming event for United Methodist college students in Denver, Colorado. An online event platform will allow students to engage directly in conversations with event speakers, sponsors, and small groups while incentivizing their interactions and posts.

There are currently over 600 registered participants for the weekend-long event.

Imagine What’s NEXT, Nov. 7-9, is an event for young adults designed to facilitate a fertile ground for imaginative work, focused specifically on the spaces where church/world and present/future meet. The event is organized by a launch team of college students, campus ministers and other creative disciples from across the United Methodist connection, and is sponsored by the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

“We’re maximizing interaction with NEXT by utilizing social media and technology in new ways,” said Beth Ludlum, GBHEM's director of student faith and leadership formation.

The NEXT Livecube app ( will make it easy for other platform users to connect on social media and to follow speakers scheduled to appear at the event. During talks, audience members will be able to live tweet questions to speakers, which they can respond to onstage in real time. The five mainstage speakers and all worship will also be livestreamed on the online event platform.

“We anticipate that our livestream of the event will double participation by engaging students and others who aren’t able to travel to Denver,” said Ludlum.

Livecube, an event app that maximizes audience participation and engagement, uses social interaction and game mechanics to motivate and incentivize audiences, driving ideation and networking. The platform will also be a post-event space for participants to share stories of how they are putting their faith into action, and event follow-up will include a downloadable Bible study for students.

Exhibitors and sponsors are primarily interacting with attendees through online space, including web portals created for different categories of sponsors, the event platform for Twitter conversations, and appointment-booking software for face-to-face conversations with speakers and sponsors. While casual networking and conversation will still occur throughout the event, one-on-one appointments shift the focus to deeper conversations about how students’ goals and exhibitors’ ministries intersect.

Participants can earn points by interacting with the Livecube platform or with the @nextumc handle on social media. The app displays a leaderboard for individuals and teams, as well as prizes Livecube users can win at the Denver event. Instagram feeds and other user-created social media will be aggregated and displayed in the event space.

The “#roadtoNEXT” began on October 20 with the start of a three week long Instagram challenge, in which students used a designated hashtag each day to reflect on their ministry or passions.

Registration for Imagine What’s NEXT is open now, and on-site registration will be available at the event (Marriott Tech Center, Denver, Colo.)

*Burdakin is editorial and production assistant, Office of Communications, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

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