My online event experience

24 juni 2020

On the 28th of May I visited my first online event: Digital Day. A 3 hour event for event professionals. I was a bit hesitant at first, but my enthusiasm grew during the event. I would like to share my experience in this blog.

I admit, it wasn't my first online event. 2 weeks before, I joined an event, but this can only be described as a very long webinar. After 30 minutes they lost me! Okay, my concentration span has never been great - ask my old teachers!  I did want to try again though and so I signed up for Digital Day. It turns out: there is nothing wrong with my concentration span!

After an easy login process I entered the lobby where 2 moderators welcomed me and told me more about the event, the program and something about themselves. Next to the moderators there was a band that took care of some nice background music! This made me energetic and I decided to say hello in the groupchat. There was a good chance that nobody would see it, but I didn’t want to be rude.

It's time for the first session; through the program I can choose for multiple sessions. I enter the room and see a presentation screen and a speaker. So far, this is as expected. There is a group chat and a Q&A section for questions. I noticed that not everybody sees the difference, but the presenter manages to answer most of the questions. After 10 minutes the session is done, and we are escorted back to the lobby.

Next up is the networking carrousel. This is the part that I'm most hesitant over. In real-life networking is a bit scary, but there is always someone who can introduce you. Online is different. Now, I have been in a relationship before Tinder was in development and I learned at a young age that my sarcasm doesn't always go well in an online environment. So I'm not really experienced in the online connecting field. But I start the carousel anyway. I have 3 talks for 5 minutes, like a speeddate. My trick is to look for something in common with the person at the other end. I had a fun chat with a business manager whose event I visited before corona and an event manager that works for a company in my home town. Before I knew it, the 5 minutes were up and I got energy for days. This was more fun than I had expected.

I enter the lobby and I see that a lot of people are finishing their conversation in the group chat. If you like, you can continue your conversation in a one-on-one chat or call. It's time for the panel discussion.
The moderator coordinates the conversations which makes it easy to follow. The discussions create an interactive setting which makes it pleasant to watch.

The event comes to an end. I have to say that I have more energy than when the event started. That's a good sign! I say goodbye to the people that I spoke with and close my computer. It's time for a real-life conversation with my husband and son.