I attended more events than usual in 2008, and I spoke at roughly the same number as usual, for me. But many people are saying they plan to attend fewer events in 2009 than usual, and what’s more they’re saying that might not be a bad thing. In a time when sessions are online, when you can search the web for the blog of the person who wrote the feature you’re interested in, why would you pay for a plane ticket and a hotel room, not to mention a substantial admission fee? I can think of at least three reasons why I do it: for the time spent with likeminded attendees, for the time spent with speakers, and as an oasis from my other obligations that’s devoted to this particular topic. There’s a fourth that you won’t notice unless you go to conferences that are well-curated: somebody is taking the time to select sessions, to select speakers, and even to get the sessions delivered in a sensible order. For more on this point, you should read Andrew Brust’s blog entry on the importance of track chairs in the 21st century.
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