People come to tech conferences for many reasons. They want to hear about new
ideas and technologies, to be inspired with the latest and greatest of what the
programming community has to offer.
But once people are actually at a conference, especially a larger conference,
the number of things to do and to absorb can be overwhelming. There are talks,
maybe even multiple talks at once, there’s the hallway track, vendor booths, and
of course the great big world outside where people escape when they want a
break. Everyone competes for attention, offering excitement, swag, fun hacking
activities, and/or the alluring prospect of job opportunities.
Then there’s the new practice of posting talks online. This opens up talks to
new audiences who couldn’t make it, which is fantastic. It also means that if
the community loves a talk, it could be see by thousands more people than were
at the conference! The downside is that conference attendees may be more likely
to skip talks because they’re all online later anyway, meaning that speakers
lose the opportunity to build off the speaker-audience interaction.
What’s a speaker to do?