But more immediately, we just got home from Flipcon15. This was my second event, and the social aspect of this conference were drastically and remarkably different from the social feelings I had at/after ISTE (I discussed this here).
I was thinking a bit about this in the context of myself, and so was beyond pleased when my friend Kristin Daniels pulled me aside at the end of the conference and said that "we" (I'm not sure when I became part of we, but I like it) need to figure out how to better involve the new people.
I mentioned to Kristin and our friend Jason Bretzmann (who also blogged about this conversation here) that I felt so lost at ISTE and attributed it to not having a "tribe." You need to find a way to get new people to build their tribe so they have people to hang out with, to learn with, and to just build that comfort zone.
Since we stayed after the conference for one more evening, we put out the call to see who wanted to join us for dinner and a wide range of people joined us.
And, since I was in the middle of the table, and had veterans as well as newbies around me, plus lots of great minds, I asked what ideas everyone had.
Here's what came up (I tweeted them to Kristin, so this is verbatim):
- preplan local meet ups before flipcon. Build that tribe before the big overwhelming event
- first session should be job alike.
- @ says job alike first AND last... meet people first then firm up connections and share learning last.
- at social events, let people sit, then break up tables. Mix in newbies and get vets to meet new people
- @ says have a social coordinator at each hotel. This person is the point for where after hours activities happen
- a social lounge if no session is meeting your needs
- newbie lounge... social time plus foundational learning (twitter 101, what is flip 101)
There's some great ideas here, but I'm a big fan of the social coordinator idea. That might just be that I WANT that job, but there have been many events where just knowing that ONE person has been helpful for me, and the social coordinator can be that person, the person getting everyone to socializing, and getting people meeting others!
(PS, in that ISTE post, I wondered what happened to my social butterfly self. It turns out, according to NY Mag that there are different kinds of introverts, and I happen to be high in thinking and anxious introversion. It all begins to make sense.)
So, what would help you feel like part of a community at a huge conference? How does it assist your learning?