Thursday, August 04, 2011

What a ride! The RSCON3 2011

For the second time, I participated as a presenter in an online conference thanks to the unstoppable & tireless Shelly Sánchez Terrell. As usual, Shelly DMed in Twitter and asked me if I was interested in participating in RSCON3. She suggested I could talk about the Flip videos (as I did last October in the 3rd Virtual Round Table Conference). I was a bit hesitant since, as we all know, Flip videos won't be sold anymore by Cisco. However, the always clear-sighted Shelly went something like: "Come on, Miguel, Flip videos sales will still be available for some time and besides you can always translate what you can do with them into smartphones or digital cameras)". With such powerful argument, how could I have said "No". So I started to look into the reasons why Cisco had made such dreadful and, in my opinion, unintelligent move; finding out about some other "Flip" alternatives; updating images and content from previous presentation; and trying to keep in mind the Five W´s (Graham Stanley). So a revisited version was born: "Flip cams see; smartphones and digital cameras do" (View recording here).

On the other hand, someone I met during this event and who definitely deserves all my respect is Clive Elsmore. What a way to organize the event from welcoming presenters to scheduling presentations and offering training sessions in Elluminate. My admiration also goes to the rest of the organizers: Shelly Terrell, Ina Chia, Mark Barnes, Christopher Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumerganten and Kelly Tenkely. Amazing A-team

An icing to the cake in this event was asking presenters to record themselves giving self-intro and briefly talking about their presentations. I had fun and started to come to terms to seeing myself talking in a video and that's quite an achievement!!!!

Having a moderator in our sessions is also as important as the presenter himself/herself in online environments. He/she formally starts the session; maybe provides a few rules to follow (Netiquette); keeps reminding people about how the session goes; encourages people to participate; announces the end of the session; or just simply (which is enough) provides support by letting the presenter know he/she is not alone. I was lucky Cecilia Lemos moderated my session and to top it all off Shelly Terrell filled in for Cecilia towards the end of the session.   

Now what about the presenters? I'd like to reflect a bit on the responsabilities the presenter has got in online events like the RSCOn3 and how fulfilling these resposabilities can help organizers bring the event to successul completion. That is, I have always heard a lot about the responsabiltities of the organizers and moderators, but what about ours to help things get done smoothly, properly and on time. Here's what I think our responsabilities are:

1. reply emails from organizers in a timely manner. It is so awful when a presenter accepts to participate in an event and replies messages from organizers days (or even weeks) later. This I believe affects having on time schedules and conference website.

2. provide info about presentations as well as bios, pictures, adding oneself to guest maps, recording videos within deadlines.
3. participate in training sessions for web confererencing platform chosen for the event (Adobe Connect, Elluminate and Wiziq). Do not trust your experience as presenter! Technology can give you some quite unpleasant, unexpected surprises.

4. contact your moderator as soon as you can to let her/him know what you plan to do. 

5. keep your presentations within the time frame shown in the schedule.

6. rehearse your presentation even if you are an "experienced" presenter.

7. try not to clutter your slides with too much text! People login to listen to you not to "listen" to the slides. A good example of Powerpoint presentations, from the sessions I attended in RSCON3, are Steve Wheeler and Dave Hodgson.

8. thank  the organizers and/or the people who invited you to participate in the online event.

9. try to share your presentations using, for example, Slideshare.

Finally, one of the things I like  from online events like this one, is how comfortably you can choose what you want to see either from home or your office; from your PC/laptop or smartphone. No one notices if you have get absent for a while (grabbing a cuppa of coffee or answering the phone). And even if you miss a piece of an interesting presentation you can always watch the recording. How great is that! Can you do that with F2F presentations? very few, I think. This RSCON3 made me think a bit about the differences/similarities between online and F2F conferences. Here they are. Feel free to add more.

I have got to end this short entry by thanking Shelly for "pushing" me to participate in this kind of online events. I'd rather go unnoticed, but these opportunities may happen once in a lifetime.

Hope next time I have more time to help maybe as moderator! Kudos RSCON3 organizers! What a  ride in three fantastic days!

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