Weak Ties & High Bandwidth: The Value of the Conference | LinkedIn
Geege Schuman stashed this in Networking
High bandwidth engagement
Conferences are, by their nature, physical in person things. And very little rivals the bandwidth of a face-to-face engagement where you can make eye contact, read body language, scribble on a piece of paper together.
More importantly, attendees of a well chosen conference are bound by just enough but not too much information about each other. Just enough: you've both chosen to attend. And not too much: you don't know enough about each other to already know how the conversation will play out.
These in-person meetings have a greater impact than a stream of blog comments or a flurry of retweets. Those things can be helpful, of course, but in my experience in person conversation remain the gold standard.
Wow, that really puts blog comments and tweets at the bottom of the barrel.
In context I totally agree with the point of this post--that in person conversation remains the gold standard.
However, conferences are the biggest waste of person time for the money possible. And that's only because of extremely poor standards of conference execution, horribly piss poor schedule formats and nearly bankrupt content. This has nothing to do with the value of people attending or presenting at conferences, simply the gross underwhelming misuse of that value as appears to be acceptable to today's conference standards.
That's not to say that you can't make things happen at a conference, but that is less about the conference organizers, the content and the formats and more about savvy attendees using the margins of that event and venue for their own purposes.
If you've something of value, then why not just call the person up and go for a coffee?