I had my first experience of Virtually Connecting as an organizer last week during DigPedCairo and I feel like I have now come full circle, having experienced virtually Connecting as a virtual buddy, onsite buddy (at #altc last September) and an organizer (I wasn’t and couldn’t be the onsite buddy for this one – Nadine Aboulmagd was with support from Maha Abdel Moneim).
— ℳąhą Bąℓi مها بالي (@Bali_Maha) March 25, 2016
And I thought I would share some insights
It’s really useful if keynotes are livestreamed and the hashtag for the event is busy. It helps virtual participants feel they have already shared part of the experience and can contribute to the conversation. As my VC co-founder Rebecca Hogue astutely noted privately, low-quality livestreaming was a good choice because people still managed to be in the moment (or watch a good quality recording within an hour).
Bonnie’s idea of everyone collaboratively annotating the same article and then bringing in virtual participants and the article author (Donna Lanclos in this case) was brilliant. It really felt like the virtual participation was enriching the onsite conversation. And it was a way to truly bring virtual folks in and just…participate…
It’s really hard when you’re organizing an event to be part of the Virtually Connecting sessions – I was there for every single one but it was stressful; twice I had to leave in the middle coz there was so much else going on onsite that I had to handle. And so I am really grateful for any organizer who passed by one of these and totally understand those who couldn’t! For me, I made that extra effort because I knew it would matter to some of the folks we were meeting online (and i wasn’t keeping track of who they would be, but I still knew…)
For larger groups of onsite participants, it’s great to have some tech folks sort out the equipment rather than ask the onsite buddy to do it. We had actually arranged everything but things still needed fixing last minute sometimes.
We were actually really lucky we managed to do any online anything at all, because at our campus, and Egypt as a whole, there were internet infrastructure issues going on that entire week! It is a miracle
For an event about the digital which DigPedCairo obviously was, it seems to me now almost intuitive to have all this “perforatedness” as a way of embracing the potential of the digital. Twitter took on new meaning for our local participants when they found people from all over the world participating. And you know what? Folks woke up in the wee hours of the morning to join us. It was heartwarming and gratifying and made people onsite feel they were joining a much wider community of people happy to engage with them.
Thanks to everyone who made this possible.