Musings on conferences

Robert Scoble hasn’t got a ticket for the Web 2.0 conference. This started me thinking about how we do conferences, especially in the so-called brave new world of social media and Web 2.0.

I can see a role for virtual environments such as Second Life. Not yet, because at the moment Second Life is far too clunky, takes too long to get to grips with and simply doesn’t offer enough. But that’s not to say a few years (I don’t think we’re talking months) as the environment gets better, desktop PCs get more powerful and bandwidth faster and more reliable (mine is and Second Life is still a pain) that it won’t provide a suitable environment for conferences.

The main benefit would be that you don’t have to travel. Good for the environment and avoids all the hassle of the current safety restrictions at airports. You’d also get an online archive/presence that people could dip into and participate after the conference.

However, there are still far more downsides than there are benefits. Nothing beats meeting people face to face and the personal interaction you get at conferences.

On Wednesday I’m one of the speakers at the New PR conference (PDF) in Edinburgh – terrible name, great conference. The Sunday Herald has a short article with quotes from me and Neville Hobson.

Unlike the Web 2.0 conference there is still a chance to book one of the few remaining last minute places at the New PR conference. Call Nicky or Andrew Wake on 01706 828855 or book online.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.cmnw.co.uk/ Craig McGinty

    Oh no, I'll never get anything done if I can watch and be involved with conferences from afar ;-)

    It would be great, and an interesting business venture, if you could just hook into a simple video feed, follow updates via RSS and post questions with those attending and watching.

    Packaging it all into one solution that I can access easily through the web without struggling over IRC chat, stuttering video and dodgy sound feeds would be so useful.

    Even if you didn't use the Second Life option now, you could have a YouTube style layout with a streaming video, and audio and RSS feeds updating on a refresh that you can turn on and off as required.

    Would have thought there is something like this out there, but if a conference was able to offer a simple one-stop option just imagine the 'attendance' figures.

  • http://publicsphere.typepad.com/mediations/ Philip Young

    Stuart, I am looking forward to doing Delivering the New PR in Edinburgh on Wednesday with you; yes, I am sure it will be a great conference, but I would be interested to know what you would call it…

  • http://philgomes.com/blog/ Phil Gomes

    The thing about Web 2.0 conferences (particularly those with a marketing bent) is that they charge a lot of money and take 1-to-3 days out of my life to *lecture* me about the value of *conversation.*

    Let me say this again: One gets *lectured* about *conversation*!!1!1!one!!1

    Nevertheless, this conference in Edinburgh sounds interesting. We just opened an office there. Alas… I'll be here on the U.S. left coast. Cheers.

  • http://www.plexus2007.com Marie Germain

    Yes I agree Stuart there is nothing like being there. The brain learns so much faster from the billion cues it receives momentarily. These could be missed in a virtual environment. We are running a Web 2.0 Conference and Exhibition in Toronto and Robert Scoble is speaking and several other luminaries–we are still building. It's on May 1 and 2.
    And PR folks are really on our radar. The PR role has evolved–thank God the pursuit of editors and beat journalists is no longer the task of the day.
    You can see our event at Plexus 2007.com .