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Would You Pay For a Virtual Genealogy Conference?

With last week’s  RootsTech a mere glimmer in our eye, and many this week offering up their reviews of the conference both from an attendee perspective and a virtual attendee viewpoint, I felt the question was begging to be asked:  

Would you pay for a virtual conference?

After each online presentation that I watched from the comfort of my armchair, I was left with an overwhelming feeling, not of disappointment, or confusion, but more importantly a yearning for more. The more I watched the more I wanted to watch. When the presentations ended, I was sad, because I knew the party was continuing without me. However, each time I sat down to watch a new presentation I was excited to be a part of this larger conference community.

Now in all honesty, I really wanted to be there. However, I live in a small rural town in Southern Ontario Canada; it would cost me nothing shy of $2000.00 to attend a conference in Salt Lake City. Perhaps next year I can talk my husband into a combined ski trip. I have attended conferences in the past, but because of my location I have to be choosy about what conferences I can attend. Having the option of virtual conferences would grant me the opportunity to attend more often.

However, more importantly I now know that I can and will attend virtually and not only learn and grow but feel a part of a larger community and that is priceless.(I'm kidding here, I do have a budget) 

So  YES, YES, YES, I would pay to attend a Virtual Conference.
The last presentation of the conference was Thomas MacEntee’s roundtable on virtual presentations. Thomas asked the panel if the world of genealogists was ready. Did you see the tweet board light up, we were screaming yes!  It’s not a matter of whether the participants are ready; it’s a matter of the whether the organizers are ready??? 

A question was suggested that a virtual conference may deter people from attending. I beg to differ.  I think many like myself will make every effort to attend, while others simply can’t and will take advantage of the online aspect. I believe you need both, I think we fed off each other. We were tweeting with those in attendance and they were aware we were watching from home. We fed off the excitement of the crowd in attendance and I believe that is an element necessary for the success. It was contagious!

I believe it was Shane Robison in his keynote address on The World of Information, that eluded to the fact that the consumer now knows all things are possible, and no longer are we convincing consumers that they need this technology instead consumers are driving the market and demanding the technology.

In my opinion, this is exactly what is about to happen. Organizers of genealogy conferences, take heed, we’ve had a taste of a new world and it’s time to meet those consumer demands. Bring it on!

Would you pay to attend a Virtual Conference? 


pams4125 said...

Hi. I watched all of the virtual conference too and wished I was there. If they make it reasonable enough for the virtual conference it would be successful if someone lives so far away also. I live in MI. I went to a conference in IL in 2008 and even though the conference fees were reasonable paying the parking, gas, room (which I shared with 2 ladies)it cost well over $2000. Would I pay for a virtual conference I would if I had the choice of what I was going to watch.

Thank you for listening.
Pam Smith

Kerry Scott said...

I absolutely would.

In fact, one of the things that blew my mind at RootsTech is that I was there, but I couldn't always tell who else was. I was in that virtual presentations session, for example, and I was tweeting throughout. I couldn't tell who was in the room tweeting with me and who was tweeting from home, because the conversation included everyone. It was amazing.

Anglers Rest said...

I would absolutely pay to attend a virtual conference. Being in the UK, time & cost would prohibit me from attending at the moment.

Tessa said...

I would pay to attend and I really think this is where we should be going in terms of conferences and some genealogy society meetings (I would join and attend virtual meetings of genealogy societies where my ancestors are from if there was some give and take - since I do not live in those areas). Additionally I belong to the Guild of One Name Studies - they have great meetings and educational seminars BUT they are in England (I am not!). I recently asked if the meeting scheduled for April would have any virtual components - they emailed back that they had not thought of that but were willing to look into it for the future. We need to clamour for these types of virtual opportunities.