Exciting news! This month I’m co-hosting #futrchat on the future of conferences. Below is information about the event, crossposted from The Association of Professional Futurists blog. Hope to meet you in the Twitterverse!
The University of Hawaii – Manoa is hosting an Emerging Futures Symposium on Friday, November 30th. The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is livestreaming the event. Futures students from around the world will share twenty minute deep dives focused on topics ranging from “When China Accepts Alternative Futures” to “The Futures of Profanity”. Hawaii’s efforts to develop an innovative conference inspired the APF to host this month’s #futrchat on the future of conferences.
The future of conferences and continued learning
The APF’s ListServ regularly focuses on the future of education for primary to college students. But what about learning for the rest of your life? For those opting to learn outside of academia, conferences offer participants access to content experts and peer-to-peer networking. A transformed conference industry is emerging. For instance, the Pecha Kucha presentation methodology facilitates fast-paced events integrating a multitude of speakers and ideas. In addition, TED has built a business around free, accessible content from engaging thought leaders. A piece in December 2012 issue of Wired magazine notes that TED has shifted from a pure conference company into a media movement.
The future is beginning to infuse the conference industry, but for the majority of participants, conferences do not meet expectations. In 7 Ways Web Conferences Suck and How to Fix Them Robert Hoekman Jr hones in on traditional conference areas that need improvement such as a lack of speaker incentives. More recently, Eric Garland (@ericgarland) posted The Posh, Predictable World of Business Conferences and commented as follows:
“Nothing dramatic goes down at a conference, for the most part. There are no major polemics on stage. No shocking news is unveiled. The keynote does not provoke a response positive or negative in the attendees. The event coordinators hold their breath and hope nothing unplanned happens, and usually, it doesn’t.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or wherever, people are free to unveil outrageous proposals, fight it out on comment streams, make common cause through private messages, learn, absorb, disagree, and generally participate in a vigorous intellectual process. It’s not that online communities are always this way, nor that live conferences are always stultifying — but million-dollar conferences are usually thought of as too precious to involve risk and adventure. They are like Hollywood — big budget and totally predictable”.
In another piece on the future of conferences, George Siemens notes,
I guess probably the best way of saying what will conferences look like in the future, it will be much more you and I creating them ourselves as participants, rather than someone creating them for us and telling us what to do. I think we will be the ones to create that for ourselves.”
Now for the logistical “stuff”…
It’s time to hear from you- futurists and conference goers – how will conferences in the future vary from what’s available in 2012?
Here is how #futrchat works. At the designated time (Thursday 29 November NYC EST 4-5pm, London GMT 9-10pm and Sydney, AEDT Friday 8-9am), login to Twitter and follow the #futrchat hashtag Watch for questions from me @localrat. Those questions should start near the top of the hour and will be labeled as Q1, Q2, and so on. Expect around 5-6 questions. Add your answer as A1, A2, A3, etc.
Please use #futrchat in your all your tweets. Follow Emily Empel @locatrat for questions. Cindy Frewen @urbanverse and Jennifer Jarratt @jenjarratt will keep the conversation moving along.
Feel free to pose questions, add links (if they pertain and no promotional ads), and teach, inform, persuade, enlighten, or provoke with your comments. And always reply or ask specific questions to other people. What did they mean, can they expand, how about such and such? That’s what keeps the conversation moving!
Here are some useful tools for connecting:
•Twitter Search on twitter.com
•Tweetdeck (multiple search columns; set up required)
•Tweetchat (links directly to #futrchat, adds hashtag to your tweets)
•Twubs (links directly to #futrchat, adds hashtag for you)
•Tweetgrid (up to 9 search columns/boxes, easy set up)
First register at twitter. If you use these sites, you register/sign in again usually through your twitter account; if asked, allow them to access your twitter account which allows you to tweet using the tool.
Futrchatters, let’s get weird. Perhaps, we’ll co-opt your ideas into the APF’s next conference on Gaming and Simulation being held in Orlando Florida May 2-4, 2013.