As most of you know (unless this is your very first visit to Two Purple Couches, in which case – hello there!!), I attended the Alt for Everyone last week. While I learned and soaked up an amazing amount of information, I was also really impressed (and at times, overwhelmed) with the online-only format.
Now, clearly, I’m not pro at attending blogging conferences; this was just my second. But I found the similarities and differences between on-line and “on-location” to be pretty interesting. And so, you’re going to hear about them today! Aren’t you excited!?
Let’s start with a few Pros of an “On-Location” conference, like Haven conference, which I attended back in August.
– You’re face-to-face with other bloggers, from your fellow attendees to the session speakers, giving you the opportunity to connect and network in-person. Meeting in person allows for your personality and tone of voice to truly come through.
– This may only apply to me, but I feel that when I’m physically in a room watching a speaker, I can focus 100% of my attention on him/her.
– The feeling of community is apparent, especially when there are hundreds of people in the room with you!
On the flip side…
– Travel stresses me out a bit, and can throw a lot of variables and potential derailments in your way.
– A packed schedule of meals, sessions, speakers, and socializing leaves little room for “unplugging” and truly digesting the information you’ve just taken in.
– Swag is heavy! And you’ll need extra luggage to account for it 😉
Now for some of the Pros of an Online conference:
– You can attend from wherever you are! With a “come as you are” dress code! (As much as I would have loved to sit around in my yoga pants, or better yet, my cozy flannel pjs, I made an effort to shower and put on real clothes every day).
– Various sessions were offered each day, so you could spread them out, or pack them all into one day. I was viewing from home (taking vacation time from my day job), and had plenty of time to “unplug” between sessions, and from Day 1 to Day 2 to Day 3. I could really go through my notes, and even made some immediate changes/additions to my blog based on what I’d just learned. That’s real-time progress, people!
– Swag was delivered to my front door!
On the flip side…
– While you still have the opportunity to connect with your fellow bloggers and session speakers, it felt a bit silo’d. I’d much rather have a stack of blogger business cards to review that lists and lists of copied-and-pasted info, especially because I know there are plenty of duplicates in my list! I did “meet” some of the same bloggers from class to class, so it was nice to build a small community in that way; and then someone might find you on Twitter or Instagram during the session and we were like “Are you the person I was just chatting with during the session?”
– As awesome as the at-home-in-your-pjs idea is, it also almost bordered on lonely. The hour-long session would end; the video would cut out, and our chatting/sharing options would be disabled. So, you’ve just sat through a soul-moving discussion on branding your blog (i.e. your life’s passions), and suddenly it’s over; you’re just sitting in your quiet house, staring at your computer screen, and being jolted back to reality by the sound of the washing machine letting you know the cycle is done.
Would I do both of them again?
I got a lot out of both conferences. Haven felt like a reunion with the BFFs you didn’t know you had; Alt attracted all sorts of bloggers, from food to fashion and more, so it was cool to see how our ideas and experiences inspired each other, even if we aren’t in the same category of blogging.
What’s your take on online versus “on-location”? Have you participated in one or both? Do you have a preference?