Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Things I hate about conferences

Posted by lpearle on 25 November 2008

(an on-going series)

  • Registration swag bags filled with vendor catalogs: if I want the catalog, I’ll ask that it be mailed to me at MPOW. I may already be getting your catalog. Don’t waste trees, and don’t add to the recycling that the hotel has to do.
  • Vendors that give and give and give. At my recent Summit, one vendor gave me two of their bags. Now, they knew how many to bring because this was a limited registration event. Many people just left one (or both) bags there.
  • Keynotes that have nothing to do with the conference theme. If you can’t tie it into schools or libraries, and how what you’re saying relates to how I can do what I do better, don’t show up.
  • Idiotic and/or meaningless statistics. Everyone I’ve spoke with was equally confused by one statistic: the average age of games was 29 five years ago, and now it is 35. Uh, yes, and ?? To me, it says that the original gaming cadre is just aging. It doesn’t say anything about who games, why younger people aren’t gaming in the same numbers, or, well, really anything else. As a factoid, it’s meaningless and the speaker just announced it with pride.
  • Not enough time to network/mull over what’s going on. Granted, this was a very short (36 hour) Summit, but if the only real time for people to gather and share is after dinner, you’re going to lose people like me that need to sleep or take care of other, non-conference related things.
  • Doug has some great comments about how to make conference presentations better. My basic suggestion? When you’re presenting to a group of Leaders in the Profession, about the Future of Libraries and Digital Print, do not, I repeat do not, be surprised and pleased by technology that was old five years ago.

I have another conference in January. Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to “Things I hate about conferences”

  1. doug0077 said

    Hi Lazy,Hey, warn me before you attend a conference were I’m speaking!I agree with your points here. A theme of “dated” information in conference sessions/keynotes has been making the rounds lately. I think that perhaps it speaks to an increasing gap between those in the audience who keep up (with PLNs) and those for whom 5 year old information is still new. It’s an increasing challenge to provide “differentiated” instruction during a conference session or keynote!All the best,Doug

  2. Alice in Infoland said

    Conference badges serve two purposes:1. to label you as a member of the ‘tribe’ attending the conference, and 2. to identify you by name to the other attendees of said conference.Item 2 is actually the more important, yet almost all conference badges give the most (wasted) space to the conference logo, instead of the name of the wearer.

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