Nicole, I will add a comment, since I said yes and no.
By and large many conferences are the informercials that are blatent sales promotions. But the ones that have been useful are where they have been sponsored by truly professional companies, IBM, Fortune magazine, etc., where they hav featured speakers with rich content that was beneficial. These sessions were excellent and a great use of virtual conferencing.
This is surprising to me, too, Mary, especially since most of those who have weighed in on this board seem to be expressing the opposite view. I would love to hear from people who said "yes" and find out why they think virtual conferences are useful. I'd also like to know whether people prefer virtual to RL conferences.
Must say I'm a bit surprised that so many folk have attended virtual conferences and found them helpful. It seems there's a fair amount of infomercialing or simple vendorizing going on. And I've always supposed that a lot of the value of a conference lies in the live meeting aspect of it.
Still, if we can telecommute and collaborate via telepresence, we can attend conferences virtually too.
Ha! In the old days, we had only our notepads in conferences. The ringing cellphone was an unusual occurrence. I think sometimes people rang their own phones to get out of a session or to look as though they were too important to stay put for long.
I agree, David. There are good ones and useless ones that are just infommercials. It really depends on the content, the quality of the speaker, and the context that the information is presented in. Like anything, quality makes the difference.
If not, it turns into the multi-tasking display that Ariella so effectively refers to, especially when it is a virtual "sales pitch".
Kind of takes you back to the days when notes had to be written on paper and you had to provide your own distraction by doodling or whispering to the person right next to you rather than by checking your email or texting.
That's true, Ariella. At almost every conference I've gone to, the entire audience of attendees is multi-tasking -- Tweeting during the sessions, blogging, texting, etc. There was one conference I went to -- the Audience Conference -- where that sort of behavior wasn't allowed. Cellphones and laptops were banned, and there was no WiFi. It made my job difficult as a media person attending, but it forced people to stay focused for once. It was interesting to observe.
" So easy to slip into multi-tasking." Yes, it is, though some people will do so even in person, constantly checking their mobile devices and texting. Very few seem to have the ability to devote 100% of their attention for extended periods of time.
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