The art of online discobingo

Tijmen Swaalf

Playlists: 'MCH2022' videos starting here / audio

This presentation will includes insights in starting your own online pirate radiostation, the mathematics of bingo cards, keeping participants data up to GDPR standards, Fitbit-statistics, and the optimization of bingo winner-calculations. This presentation will also at one point include a guy in an ice cream cone costume with an offensive name, as well as an optional disco bingo party with songs supplied by visitors to the conference.

As the first Covid lockdown made it impossible to continue hosting live events in pubs, many presenters and questioneers quickly adapted to hosting online quizzes. Slightly depressed by the notion that online quizzes would involve a great amount of cheating and the thought that participants would see it as an “okay substitute for the offline version”, I choose to develop an online event that would be impossible to cheat and would give people a unique experience, whilst still being a game that can also be played in pubs.

When this presentation is held, there will have been at least 200 installments of DJ Cone Yo’s online Discobingo, with over 5.000 participants on all 6 continents, all from a laptop on a nightstand next to my bed. It proved to be an event accessible to both Children as well as high-level employees of companies such as Deloitte, PWC, Gemeente Amsterdam, and then some.

Please note that this will not be a presentation on any personal accomplishment with this event. Because let’s be honest: it’s a guy doing digital conga shuffles in front of the webcam. However, during the development of this activity I learned how to build up an https online radio server with Icecast2, created calculation models in excel to manufacture unique cards, optimized this data to supply me predictive data to rapidly check results, and created a way to supply participants with all information, including unique cards, whilst living up to GDPR-standards. With this presentation I’d like to provide some inspiration regarding how to develop each of these things without any knowledge of programming and using some of the most basic pieces of software. Also: share the joy of bingo math.

There is an option to also do a shared evening activity. People can supply songs for an evening discobingo which can be played in multiple locations at the same time. So if there are any restrictions still set, the radio stream can be played in tents or in smaller groups, and everyone that wishes to join can receive a unique card and play along. In the spirit of the event, people can even submit their own prizes to the bingo as to share them with others at the festival.

And on a personal note:
After visiting SHA2017 back when I was working as a campaign strategist for Bits of Freedom (where I got to design campaigns such as the Rijksveiligheidsdienst) I have thought about how amazing it would be to do a presentation at one of these events. Back then, me and a few colleagues specifically enjoyed a presentation on “how to start an escape room”. Doing something along these lines and sharing insights gained from developing entertainment is something I am good at.