I just completed the 2020 DevOps Enterprise Summit a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening to me to see that so many people liked this experience. They appreciated not traveling, being able to drop in and out of sessions while near their home and family. I found that lots of people also liked the MVP Summit last spring, which was also virtual.
The PASS Summit went virtual recently, and I went through an all day pre-con as well as a few sessions during the week. As many of you, I’m a bit screen and Zoom fatigued, and while I enjoy learning and seeing people passionate about a technology, I’m tired of seeing it inside these four walls.
I worry that I’m in the minority. I recognize the value of the inclusion of those that don’t have the time or money to attend a conference live. I appreciate that the ability to watch when and where it fits into my schedule. I love that others can pause, rewind, get captions, and more that spread knowledge out.
However, I think we’ve lost something, and certainly lost some of the collaborative, discussions and debates that we can have in live events. While I can reach out and discuss with anyone, it’s hard to discuss with just someone. Others can join in, and semi-private channels, and especially the times during breaks when I can get up and walk while talking, are things I miss in the virtual experience.
If virtual events were spread out more, and not everything in my work world were virtual, perhaps I would feel differently, but for now, I don’t love the virtual experience, and feel it’s a pale shadow of a SQL Saturday, user group, or live conference. I hope that this isn’t something I do too often, but I suspect this will be a permanent part of our lives forever.