The Future of Podcasting Conferences Post-Pandemic [S3E87]


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Is it weird for me to hope that podcasting conferences never go back to normal?

I could do without barely-competent but terribly-enthusiastic presenters doling out bad advice from the stage. But Zoom, Clubhouse, and other virtual events have taught us the value of The Law of Two Feet.

I don’t relish enduring finicky house sound systems that make it hard to hear or be sure I am heard, something I rarely worry about when I’m on my own mic or listening on my earbuds.

And I never have to suffer through a presenter reading their slides to me, it’ll be too soon.

Many of us spent 2020 lamenting what a poor simulacrum virtual events were. But now it’s 2021. We’ve adapted. We’re not living in the new normal. We’re living in the new different. And many of us don’t want to go back.

But don’t get me wrong. I miss the physicality of in-person events. I miss the hallway conversations. I miss holding court at a booth in the back of the hotel bar. I miss so much about the in-person experience.

But I can’t help but wonder how our lived experiences of the last year or so will change our expectations of future in-person experiences. Will they be the same? No, of course they won’t.

Maybe there’s a way to get live feeds running for each and every session that both look and sound great!

Maybe that leads to fewer concurrent sessions, where in-person, on-stage, in-real-time talks are done in one or two rooms, with “breakout” sessions occurring (and recorded) only in virtual spaces.

Maybe the “drop-in” paradigm is fully embraced, with an entire track determined on-the-fly, with a nod back to the “unconference” format that was the darling of the aughts, modernized to meet current expectations.

Maybe there’s a way of enabling public live chats for every session.

These are the kinds of questions I hope every podcast conference organizer is thinking about. Because it’s not just a brave new world waiting for us out there. It’s a brave new different world, and I do not think we’re going to accept the way things were when we meet up again at a podcast conference.


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Evo Terra produces Podcast Pontifications four times a week to provide ideas and ask questions every working podcaster should be thinking about.

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