Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Great Genealogy Conference Expedition

Can we have too many genealogy conferences?

Yes, I'm really asking that question. Never thought I would but have you looked at an event calendar lately? Busy, busy, busy and that's just the face-to-face events, I'm not taking into considering the online happenings.

For example, this weekend, August 1-2, 2014 there are three conferences, in the Midwest, that I would love to attend. Alas, I have to pick one.

Here are my choices:

Of course I picked door number three and am going to Columbia (MIZ!). As the three conferences I listed are annual conferences, the odds of my attendance at the other two are slim, they keep falling on the same weekend. Needless to say, the Midwest has great options for genealogy conference goers, choosing is the hard part. And having to make these "difficult" decisions lead me to thinking about some things. 

Alternate conference years?

What if conferences alternated years? Hosting a conference is hard, hard work. Wouldn't it be nice to take a break and just have to go through that every other year? Would a conference that is held every other year appear more desirable and actually improve attendance?

Could being chosen as a speaker be a more coveted role? It's possible that speakers could extend their exposure by presenting at more conferences in a more varied geographical area as there would be less overlap in scheduling.

The Great Expedition

What if conferences coordinated their topics and built on each other? The story starts on the east coast and to get "the rest of the story" you need to follow the migration pattern to next conference west, The Great Genealogy Conference Expedition! Could this happen at a state level? The State Society kicks off the In State Expedition and the tour moves around the state to county and local societies that hold conferences? Of course, this would mean collaboration to the 9th degree.

I don't know the answer. I do know that conference planning and hosting is a tough gig (and coordinating an expedition could be a nightmare) but I thought it was worth a shot to throw some alternate ideas out there. There is no rule that says we have to keep doing things the same way over and over, year after year.

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