Scanning for name badges takes on a whole new meaning in a virtual conference. Half of the meetings I attended were set up as webinars, so scanning for important people was not even possible. But, where I could see the attendees, I engaged in scrolling through the names and passively wondering what they were doing behind that strategically placed photo image. The biggest bummer was missing out on waving hello to my friends when I “see” them.
With the virtual setup requiring additional assistance, I signed up before the conference to “tech assist”, which means signing onto Zoom and making sure the presider has everything they need to run the session. It has been an interesting experience, where I have gained a lot of insight into challenges in the background. It is clear that the post-COVID world will include more access to physical conference by means of virtual engagement.
I will say, there were a few strategies that worked well, and some that did not. One thing I liked was a website link to a presentation or paper bibliography. This is easy to link in the chat box, and can be quickly copied/pasted by an attendee.
I think I sat at my desk for more consecutive hours than ever before. Somehow, I was hungrier than usual, yet I was not burning energy by walking around. Clearly, this is evidence that thinking burns calories? I don’t know the science behind Zooming, but I imagine this will be an area of exploration in the near future.