In the last month I’ve registered for, and attended parts of, two virtual conferences. The first was the ‘Be a better freelancer’ conference, delivered via Zoom and running from 9am to 5.15pm, Eastern (US) time – that is, from 11pm to 7.15am in Hobart. It’s fair to say that I did not get much out of this conference – and that was entirely my fault.
I am not a night owl, but I thought that taking a nap during the day would be enough to keep me awake for at least a few presentations. It wasn’t. I barely made it through the opening session on ‘Startup essentials and business basics’. Fortunately, presentations were recorded and I’m looking forward to catching more of them, but it’s not the same as being able to ask questions in real time.
Fortunately, I learned from this experience, so when the CIEP conference came around in November, I was better prepared. The main conference program ran (from my perspective) from 11.50pm to 4am, with themed networking sessions from 9 to 11pm, speed networking from 6 to 8 am on day one, and a quiz from 6 to 8am on day two.
I made up the spare bed in my office, noted the time that each presentation would start, warned the family that I would probably resemble a zombie during normal waking hours, and set my alarm. I attended most of the formal presentations as well as some of the speed networking.
It wasn’t the same as attending a conference in person – of course it wasn’t. But it was still a great opportunity to get away from the day-to-day routine of editing and meet colleagues doing different things – or doing the same things in different ways – around the world.
The next conference I’ve signed up for isn’t an editing one – it’s RootsTech 2021. In normal times, this event attracts thousands of family historians to Salt Lake City; next year, it’s going online. I’m looking forward to seeing how their team manages such a huge audience.
Have you attended a virtual conference? Share your experiences in the comments below, or drop us a line.
Elizabeth Spiegel AE
Elizabeth is President of Editors Tasmania and convenor of the 2021 conference. Although the IPEd Board has determined that Editing on the Edges will be delivered virtually, nothing in this post should be taken as committing the conference committee to a particular delivery format.