We’re Not Over-Conferenced; We’re Better Served

Woman standing at podium, hands clasped, low angle viewAs social media becomes more and more popular there’s another issue that is a direct result of its growing popularity: more social media conferences. In Arik’s recent post, he discusses his views that our society may in fact be over-conferenced.

I think the thought itself is interesting, but I have to admit that my gut reaction to hearing that assertion is that it just isn’t true. I will admit, there are a lot of different conferences out there. Just take a look at Mashable’s most recent conference guide. Looking at that list, you’ll notice that there are oftentimes several conferences during the same time period. However, there are also a couple things you won’t see there: overlapping cities and subjects.

While I haven’t been to many (okay…only a couple) of these conferences, I imagine many of these conferences are not gigantic. Instead they provide more intimate setting for a more niche group of folks: government conferences, crisis communications conferences, conferences geared towards advertisers, etc. Just look at that list and you’ll get the point. Further, even if there is some overlap, different people have difference experiences in social media, so being able to learn about similar issues through different viewpoints just provides another avenue from which to learn.

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Time for the digital conference scene to evolve
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Additionally, we’re seeing social media changes on nearly a daily basis and there are always new platforms and tools coming out. I don’t know about you, but I like learning about them! And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve hardly touched the surface when it comes to the sheer quantity of social media platforms out there.

I think there are only a couple final things to note; given this economic climate and staggering unemployment rate,  many companies are cutting back wherever possible. One of the first things to go: travel funds. So even if there are more conferences, having them in various locations can significantly cut down on travel costs and allow people to attend conference they might not have been able to attend had they needed to travel out of town.

While I can understand the opposite viewpoint, I still think we’re far from being over-conferenced.

And last but not least, if you do in fact think that we’re over-conferenced, don’t go. It’s as simple as that.

Amanda’s posts on this site are her own and do not represent the viewpoints of Xenophon Strategies, its clients or the other writers for this site.

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  • jeffespo

    Interesting POV Amanda, do you see a day where with travel budgets being cut, that we'll see a 100% social media driven conference? By that I mean the conference run by various speakers via USTream or a similar site? The presentations could be given via SlideShare or GoToMeeting.

  • Hey Jeff –

    We've actually already got that to a certain extent — virtual lunch sessions, etc. It's certainly good for pure educational reasons, but obviously the networking component would be lacking.

    That being said social media could certainly change that — a slideshare or 'goto' preso in one window, with a running hashtag in another for the 'gossip' & networking could take such virtual sessions to a new level.

  • jeffespo

    The concept is not 100% perfect but would get the education down, the other stuff could be achieved with regional Tweetups potentially.

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