Monday, April 26, 2004

Conference planning in the 21st Century

The Council on Foundations is holding its annual meeting in Toronto, from whence I post this. What is new at this year's meeting? Other than the Canadian location - not a lot. I've become jaded, no doubt, but this conference makes me think that the telecommunications revolution has really hit home in a way that conference planners have basically missed. Its not just that email, conference calls, and blogs reduce the need to meet in person for information sharing purposes. Its the fact that people at conferences spend all their time connected electronically to their offices. For example, every time a session ends here in the Hilton/Sheraton monolith, the doors swing open and dozens of people stream from rooms, already with cell phone to ear or dialing madly on their TREOs. No more shmoozing in the hallways or talking about the session you just sat in - everyone comes here physically but leaves their brains tied to the office. Is this better than before? Should we all stay home? When do you take time to think? What is the value of this type of forum anymore? Why am I here?