Sunday, May 17, 2015

Conferencing in the 21st Century

I am reflecting on a few days spent at a conference last week.

Fun is a thing.

Lego figures embodied the fun theme of the conference. Delegates could go to the lego table, get a body and construct a figure using the many parts available.

If you look carefull at the torso of my handsome, debonair man you can see the conference logo which includes a surfer figure. [Apparently I am now expected to have a top hat.] The posting of pictures of the figures was a fun activity, and gathering at the maker table was a great icebreaker.

Twitter is a thing.

Not for everyone, and even at this conference not for the majority I suspect, but still a substantial back channel, side channel and occasionally social channel. The hashtag (disambiguated very clearly by the organisers) was popular enough to attract spam, rather unpleasant clickbait type spam. Interestingly the reporting of the spam seemed to be effective and it diminished to the point where it was safe to follow the hashtag. One delegate packaged all the tweets for posterity.

@S_Palmer "Made it, so may as well post it. THETA-tweeters all-in-final #THETA2015 @THETAConference Twitter network [~5MB]"

Two years ago at the same conference a tweet-up attracted a handful of people. At this conference meeting face to face with tweeps was an hour by hour event. I increased my network and met for the first time a number of familiar tweeps.

The app is a thing.

Conference apps are not new, but are now essential. For this conference I'd say the app was something I used regularly throughout the day, on my phone and on my tablet. I checked out the schedule, speakers, rated sessions and found vendors in the maze of the exhibition hall. I got notifications during the day. Not perfect but hard to imagine not having all of the conference information, plus contributions, in my hand.

The satchel contains goodies.

First time at a conference that I got nothing in my satchel that I would discard, no wedge of paper, no pens or unwanted promotional material. There were just useful and fun things. And a great satchel for future use.



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