Online conferences - worth it?

It feels like every day since covid kicked off there’s another conference that’s ‘going virtual’.

I get it, they are part of the usual rhythm of normal life and people want to ‘stay connected’. I have a few thoughts I need to process about this…

  1. Paying hundreds of dollars to sit in front of my computer for multiple days (maybe even a Saturday) doesn’t sound very appealing to me
    2… If the value is about sharing research, what are we waiting for? The internet gives us the opportunity to do this continually, it doesn’t cost hundreds of dollar and doesn’t require a gatekeeper to tell you if you’re allowed to share or not
  2. If the value is about networking, what are we waiting for? The internet means we can break free from the occasional catch ups at conferences and keep the conversations happening pervasively throughout the year.

I’m not saying online conferences don’t offer any value, I’m just not sure it’s at the high price tag many are asking for.

What do you think? Do you think they’re worth it? Am I just being cynical? Am I missing something?

In my experience so far, the traditional powerpoint+presenter format doesn’t translate well to a zoom or google meeting and cant command $100s to sit and watch. (TBH everyone just mutes their video and answers emails :grinning:).

I think improved value would come from a mixed media offering on a topic. For example condensed main video presentation (10 to 15 minutes) complimented by a a ‘cheat sheet’ .pdf, podcast style audio, resource page (eg links to supporting information) and specific discussion board for Q+A.

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I agree, there’s definitely some work to be done with shifting the format to make use of the digital medium.

As much as anything else, I just don’t think I could concentrate for an extended period of time at my computer. Charging per session would be a good option I think. A whole day does not sound desirable to me at all.

I’ve decided part of my annoyance with online conferences I’m feeling a new level of FOMO. E.g. the reasonably priced AAAPC conference is online today and tomorrow, but I can’t be available for live sessions so didn’t see much point in registering. In days gone by the excuse not to go to things was that you could only attend a few conferences a year so had to choose carefully. Now it’s blatantly obvious that its the domestic duties getting in the way!

My FOMO relating to (good) online conferences has reached a new level, seeing tweets about two conferences that clearly caught on to the idea of embracing the digital medium.

Coda change and Don’t forget the bubbles. DFTB even have parody songs and everything, like this one about placebos set to “Let it Go”. It really makes me want to go back to being a PICU pharmacist.

If online conferences are like this, I’m in. But if they’re just didactic presentations, no thanks.