From the Editor: How connection is changing in every industry
May 18, 2021 by Bree Rody
Live events – conventions, award shows, education opportunities – have been a hallmark of trade media for years. There’s no doubt we all miss traditional live events – for the excitement of finally “putting a face to the name” when networking, or the age-old tradition of catching up with your industry peers over a beer at the end of an event day.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t see the benefit of virtual events. While the experience is very different as both an attendee and an organizer, it feels as though many industries have started to embrace the differences, rather than try to replicate the exact experience of an in-person event.
For example: While we might not be able to physically have a pint together, with virtual events we have something we never really had before: the ability to multitask while taking in educational sessions. We can learn about new application techniques while we get our desk work done during the day. We can eat a snack while watching a showcase of the latest products. We can even save key sessions for later if we have to miss them live while we take our kids to school. Live events don’t come with replay.
And no, there’s no salad bar at lunch, but some virtual events have found innovative new ways to break up the educational aspect of the day with activities we might have never heard of before. Some have done trivia, social media challenges and more.
When I first came on as editor of Manure Manager, the status of this year’s North American Manure Expo was still up in the air – would it be in-person, online or a hybrid? We quickly realized the timing was not quite right for an in-person event, especially one that involved crossing the border. We’ve since been tirelessly planning this year’s online event to ensure the experience provides value to the communities we serve.
Features such as the ability to watch our sessions on-demand or time-shifted, a virtual trade show floor and well-timed breaks will allow attendees to enjoy a world-class experience while also enjoying some of the unique privileges of a virtual event. Through the Pheedloop platform, one can meet new people and ask questions during education sessions, or, if they want a more lean-back experience, they can take notes and tending to their other business.
It’s time we look at virtual events not as a limiting experience, but as a learning experience. Let’s raise a glass at our desks this year, knowing next year, it is much more likely we will be raising a glass in person. •