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Friends, Food, and Fun

two folks eating caramel apples

Organizations seem to be managing the virtual conference. I think I have attended quite a variety of styles in the last year:

These conference formats all had one thing in common: screens. In fact, as I look back on the photos I’ve taken over the last year, they are almost all of something on a screen.

I always took pictures of screens during conferences when I was sitting in a session, next to a colleague, and trying to capture a good quote, interesting statistics, or an email address. In the last year, conference organizers have tried desperately to recreate that face to face experience of conferences. But what I’m missing the most is something that can’t be recreated, no matter how hard they try, and that is physically being in the presence of people and all that comes with that rich experience that is hard to measure.

When I go back further in my phone’s images, I can locate photos from conferences I attended just over a year ago, and those images are, yes, some screens, but they’re also mostly people (okay, and food). In fact, I can categorize those photos into three categories:

I look forward to attending my next conference in person. I hope to feel jubilation and wonder and gratitude. I hope and expect to look at people both strangely and warmly. I hope to be in the moment and snap 100 pictures to share with you later.

What are you missing from attending conferences? Which one are you most looking forward to attending next? Post your comments below. Not sure? Check the “Conferences” tab along the top navigation bar.

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