Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Virtual Conferences - Are They the Way of the Future?


Conferences are an important learning experience. They bring like minded people together. They give us the chance to learn from the best in the biz. They give us new energy, new ideas and show us new resources. 

But conferences are expensive. Not the registration fees. They tend to be quite reasonable. But for most of us, we have to add in travel costs, accommodation costs, time away from work, family, friends. 

I have some incredibly talented colleagues in Scotland. I've had the pleasure of listening to them and have always learned from the experience. Even when their talk is on a topic I already know. They bring a different perspective or a different strategy and from that comes the learning.

I have been very fortunate that three of my tour groups have been in Scotland when the Scottish Association of Family History Societies were holding their annual conference. And I have also been fortunate that two other groups were in Scotland when the Scottish Genealogy Society was holding their monthly meetings. The experience has been one I've wanted to replicate for other people who are researching from afar. 

And this weekend, it happened! 80 people learned from five speakers on five topics pertaining to Scottish genealogy. We gathered together around our computers. Listened to a presentation, then there was a flurry of interaction while questions were asked and answered. Then it was on to the next presentation. The day flew by.  

The day was exhausting in that our minds were overflowing. But the day was incredibly energizing in that our minds were overflowing. New ideas, new resources, new strategies. And best of all, we were all in our comfy clothes, tea, coffee or hot cocoa in a mug and if we had to leave for a few minutes, no one was being disturbed in their learning. If we didn't want to hear the questions, we could pass that by and not feel like we were being rude to the speaker. 

The ViC included a virtual marketplace with vendors and exhibitors showing us how their products or services could enhance our genealogy research and not once did we have to stand in line. 

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. It has helped me to realize that virtual conferences are a great way of moving forward. Less expense, less disruption to our lives and still an incredible learning experience. 

Here's some of the feedback: https://www.genealogyvic.com/praise-for-virtual-conferences.html

What about YOU? Would you be willing to attend a virtual conference? Let me know in the comments below


  1. Absolutely. I've already attended virtual conferences. I'm disabled, so it's the only way I can attend.

  2. Certainly would. Other commitments meant I could not attend the one Sat. but would another time if it fits in my schedule (as is the case for non-virtual conferences!).