On the 17th and 18th of July I will be attending Wordcamp UK, for the first time. I am looking forward to it.
Is this an advertisement for Wordcamp yes it is kind of . (Disclaimer I am helping out) You should go , tickets are still available although at time of writing I believe that is only about 30 and the ticket close deadline is less than 24hrs away, and the schedule is really shaping up see the wiki If you wish to subscribe to the schedule I have drawn together a webcal / ics WordCamp UK Schedule version here. Which is HTML5 so beware it looks OK on nice browsers and even mobile devices but it may not play nicely with IE.
However I attend quite a few events throughout the year but I have missed WordCamp so far, I did follow online last year but it is never quite the same. Which is really the point of this post.
There is a trend at the moment for online conferences and yes whilst these have environmental benefits there is one big, quite obvious lacking I think, having attended both. - interaction with like minded people
summed up quite recently in a tweet by Craig Rowe
visit their blogs, download podcasts, watch screencasts. Value from conferences come from meeting people, serendipity and socialising.. imho
Even if you dont engage with people much, there is a certain atmosphere with the Geek community, people are welcoming and you can often just eavesdrop on some awesome thing, from some extremely clever people, that are not speakers, that spark ideas for you in your situation. It is kind of social learning. Maybe it is my my lack of Psychology knowledge shows through here but as I understand J.B. Rotters theory of Social Learning I think this is reinforced in these environments. We do flourish and adopt behaviours/ideas later, as suggested the effect of behaviour has an impact on the motivation of people to engage in that specific behaviour. I usually come away from these events brimming with ideas and enthuisiam. So I suggest especially if you have not gone to one of these type of events before you give it a try. If you have read this and see me there let me know what you think.