Last week, I was able to attend a fair amount of the virtual Cisco Live US 2020 event. I wanted to share my thoughts around the social aspect of virtual versus physical conferences.
Up until now, I have only attended one Cisco Live US event and that was in Las Vegas in 2017. I remember getting registered late and not preparing the best for the event. It was overwhelming to say the least, but I had a great experience. I attended multiple sessions and met with a few people, but largely kept to myself. I’ve learned since then that I did it wrong. A big benefit of these conferences is to meet and network with like-minded people. The social aspect of these events is huge. I was really looking forward to giving it another go this year.
I think that currently, virtual conferences make social interaction more difficult because there is less chance for organic conversation. I say “more difficult”, but definitely not impossible. We have been using videoconferencing technologies for some time now (and is used to supplement these virtual conferences). I definitely think that virtual conferences are here to stay and that’s a very good thing. They promote inclusion by making it easier for people to join in without travel. I do think that we need to be careful that we don’t let the interaction, organic conversation, and general people networking go by the wayside. We need to continue to leverage technology to stay connected, when we cannot meet face to face. In my opinion, humans are the heart technology.