Last week, I decided to immerse myself into the TCC Online Conference as fully as possible. Having attended many conferences in person in the past, I was curious to see what it would be like participating in an online conference. Rather then going into the office, I stayed at home so I could participate without distractions.
The format of the conference was interesting as it was generally limited to 20 minutes of presentation followed by 10 minutes of open discussion. Since most of the speakers opted not to have their camera’s on for their presentation, it was less personal then I was used to but the anonymity of being online seemed to balance that as people were more then willing to throw out questions through out the presentation and the speaker was able to answer it when appropriate. For some of the topics, I would have loved for the speaker to have more time. I’ll have to check my notes but one speaker had a ton of information and slides that she blazed through during her presentation and it was a bit difficult to keep up with. It was also apparent that some speakers were reading directly from a script as their delivery was fairly monotone and they didn’t respond to impromptu questions as readily.
On a personal note, I tend to find conferences fairly stressful and tiring. On top of trying to keep up with the various topics, not being good with names, I struggle to remember who I spoke with earlier in the conference. That being said, I thought that the online conference would simplify that. In retrospect, it brought a whole new set of challenges. Being cooped up in front of a computer all day with no face to face interaction was also tiring. I always enjoy seeing my family at the end of the day but was a bit happier at the end of each conference day.
Secondly, its amazing how many distractions are around when the only person to keep you honest is the computer. Every sound in the house screams for attention! The beer in the refridgerator? Calling my name! (Note: I was able to tune them out till the evening…). Other then that, I noticed that: 1) I didn’t brush my teeth till lunch time; 2) Nobody knows if you’re still in your pajamas past then; 3) I was free to snack and eat anything with garlic that I wanted to without offending them; and 4) I had way more junk food in my house then I thought. Well, a bit less now. Sorry, don’t judge me… I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.