Checking in, and checking out…

John Thackara writes in his always-excellent Doors Of Perception newsletter, that he may have finally squared-the-circle of the environmental impact of travelling to events to speak about environmental impacts…

After years traveling the world in airplanes to speak at sustainability events, my low-emission online alternative is now available. In recent weeks I was compelled by a family matter to substitute my physical presence with a virtual one in Austria, China, Canada, the USA, and Brazil (Curitiba and Rio). These online encounters have a simple format: I make a customized-for-you 20 minute pre-recorded talk, which is downloaded in advance; this film is then shown at an event; this is followed by a live conversation between me and your group via Skype or POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). The films are neither fancy nor glossy, but this simple combination seems to work well.

It occurs to me though, that part of the pleasure – and reward – of travel to conferences (apart from the well-documented serendipity of what happens outside of the scheduled sessions) is the chance to visit a new city and experience it’s culture.

Often, if you are lucky, this is in the company of locals that you have met at the conference, who will show you ‘their’ city rather than the official version.

I wonder if John has considered asking the those locals at the conferences he will ‘attend’ via video, to send him back a 20 minute customised-for-him film of their city or town?

Might work nicely, no?

3 comments
  1. Hi Matt, do you mind if I repost this entry in conferencebaiscs.com? I write about (or rather make during my daytime job and during the night write about) experience design for conferences and how it’s evolving from a scenario where content was kind (and in that case the video from John would be all you need) to one where Content is Queen, still very important for a live conference but now has ceded the stage to the experience (the Jack is your magical touch to making the event different, unique, etc)…

    (btw we *very briefly* met at Frontiers of Interaction in Rome in 2009)

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