Why would we ever go back?

The BIFHSGO conference is over, and what a success! Over 400 registrants and, judging by the geographic distribution of prizewinners, from far and wide. Quality presentations. Those involved in the organization and staging of the week of presentations and other events each deserve our thanks.

There are so many good things about an online conference I question why organizers would ever go back to in-person events. Having been involved in organizing several conferences here are the pros for online:

    1. There’s no complaining about the food. That’s often the #1 comment about a conference.
    2. There’s no complaining about a presenter repeating the same material at different times. That gets especially annoying when you pay for a special pre-conference event and then hear the same thing later during the conference.
    3. You can get a wider variety of presentations and presenters, meaning the possibility of covering niche topics.
    4. No parallel sessions, or if there are recordings available.
    5. There’s no need for on-site time-critical logistical operations like signs, registration, security — and food.
    6. There’s no cost and no GHG emissions from flying speakers long distances.
    7. Attendees from a distance incur no travel, food and accommodation costs.
    8. There’s less chance of the event being disrupted by a power cut or natural hazards, like a tornado or earthquake.

Can you think of any cons? I can; they pale in comparison.

That said, having broken the old mould I hope BIFHSGO remains open to other changes. Instead of one major conference perhaps a series of one-day mini-conferences. BIFHSGO will be sending a feedback form later in the week, Please respond, and in the meantime, you can add comments to this post.


11 Replies to “Why would we ever go back?”

  1. Only if sessions are recorded for later review by paid attendees!! After several sessions in a row on Zoom, my head was spinning.

    1. Kay,
      The sessions are online in the Registrants portal of the BIFHSGO2021.ca until October 11th.
      Susan -Program Chair

  2. You make a compelling case for online conferences. Just the savings on travel, room bookings, and food alone stand out.

    Not just Genealogical societies benefit from online meetings, so too do Historical Societies, bookclubs, and more.

  3. Thanks John for your kind words. I think the team are tired but very happy with how it all went. It was nice to be able to attend all the sessions even if you were working in the background. That is something you can’t do in a live event. I must admit that there were a couple of sessions that were packed with information and will have to be revisited fortunately the recordings are available for a bit. The conference connect made up a bit for the lack of visiting with one another.

  4. There is a “socializing” factor at in-person conferences that is absent online, perhaps a minor issue when placed against your list of “good things”! I like the idea of a series of mini-meetings online and on specific subjects. I agree that in the online universe, we can attract speakers from anywhere and everywhere and without travel and accommodation expenses, we could even up the ante on speaker fees, something that would undoubtedly appeal to the A-list of those who devote time and energy to leading the rest of us out of genealogical darkness.

  5. I agree 100%. It took a pandemic to make it possible for thousands of people worldwide to attend conventions, lectures, presentations and meetings that they would never have been able to attend in person because of the distance they would have had to travel. And then there are those whose mobility or lack of, would have made them think twice about attending. As a beneficiary of the advent of the online meeting, I am thankful to those groups who grasped the technology and ran with it.

  6. I agree with everything you said. Why would we ever go back. If you did, the chance of my ever attending a conference is slim to nil. If it is on-line again, I will be one of the first to register. I live in Western Canada.

  7. I agree 100%. I have enjoyed conferences from all over the world that would have been impossible for me to afford on a senior’s pension. Long live online conferences.

  8. Thank you for having brought this conference to my attention and in enough time to subscribe and even join the society.

    I would never have been able to afford attending the event form the UK. At least having it streamed meant that I could watch it from the comfort of my home (and eat and drink as much as I like). Although it’s funny how I am watching UK presenters via Canada. It was great to hear and learn from them just the same.

    I have only recently started researching Irish heritage so learnt so much from the presentations.

    All this because you brought it to our attention.

    Thank you


  9. The two sides –
    I have met many wonderful people at Conferences that would never have happened otherwise.
    BUT I have “attneded” events online that would have been impossible in person.

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