Van Dusseldorp´s Future of Events (11)
...normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...(''bah'')
My friends, dear sweethearts, my favorite 1032 people in the world!
Uh oh. You probably do not even remember you signed up for this newsletter!
Nevertheless, I have missed you all. And I missed writing about events.
My bad. What happened? Oh well.
Things. Life. Deadlines. An attempt to write a serious treatise on the topic that went nowhere. En een vreemde weemoedigheid die niemand kan verklaren.
So I took a short break from the newsletter, and here we are, 22 months later?
Really? Really. There are plenty of people on this list who never even got a single fine fresh newsletter in their mailbox. Ouch.
So most of all, this edition is to let you know I have plans! Expect a few newsletters to hit your inbox in the coming weeks and months, with ideas about events: past, present, and future. So bear with me - or unsubscribe!
For those that have forgotten what they signed up for way back when: please find an introduction below. I am also adding links to the earlier editions. Timeless content, I swear..!
What do you think is the future of events? Are we indeed just resuming normal service, or has something truly changed since the pandemic?
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Monique van Dusseldorp
Do feel free to connect on Twitter and LinkedIn as well! Or find me on Mastodon!
If you want to know what I have been up to, here is my list of 2022 events.
Feel free to send me feedback, ideas or….fill out this short form!
And if you know of anyone else who should read this newsletter…
What is this newsletter about, you ask? Or, more to the point:
What is the Future of Events?
Short recap: in December 2020, I set out to write about my experiences as an event professional during the lockdown to figure out how the pandemic was changing the nature of events.
Suddenly, online was the only place where we could meet. A hybrid future was looming. Experiments with new formats, tools, and interactions bloomed. Events were going to change forever. Right?
Ask our new ChatGPT overlords what the future of events is, and you will get this totally sensible, slightly boring answer:
‘‘One possibility is that virtual and hybrid events, which blend online and in-person elements, will become more prevalent. This could allow for a wider audience to participate and could also make events more sustainable, as attendees would not need to travel long distances. Another possibility is that events will become more experiential, with a focus on creating immersive, memorable experiences for attendees. This could involve the use of virtual reality, augmented reality, and other interactive technologies”.
Or not. To be honest, normal services have resumed everywhere, or so it seems. My 2022 events? In-person events, almost all of them. Not even a live stream for most. And a strange absence of social media responses as well! What is going on?
As a personal aside (you can skip all of this!) I have worked in media/tech events since 1992. As a student, I got an internship at the European Institute for the Media in Manchester. The library there had two shelves of studies on electronic media - not what you think, these were research reports dealing with the television industry. That long ago, indeed. (If you are looking for a really unnecessary and very long aside: I wrote down some memories of working at the EIM a while ago).
The 1992 European TV & Film Forum was my first event, held at the World Expo in Seville. People got together there to find out what was happening in the industry, to escape their office life, and make new connections. And that is what is happening at tech events today. Normal service.
Over the last 30 years, while the internet wiped away industries, established new ones, and drove innovation at breakneck speed, things changed. Events help drive these changes - at least, that's what I think. They are where we get together to discuss what these changes mean and build the shared understanding needed for the creation of a new industry. But there is more to it than that.
The internet connected us all, and we are still figuring out what that means.
With that in mind, I hope to share some observations - not just on the tech conferences I know so well! In fact, what you will find is that this newsletter will often look back instead of forward. And it will be full of asides.
But at the heart of it is the same question over and over again: how will we get together?
Time for some homework… feedback welcome!
As for my earlier exploration of online & hybrid events - what they are and what they will be - here are the first 10 issues! You might want to read issue 1 first! Or try Issue 7 which looks at the history of videotelephony and talks about the role of screens, to get an idea of what you can expect.
Issue 0 is an introduction to the newsletter and has a bit of info about me
Issue 1 answers the question: what are events for?
Issue 2 is all about ‘‘unbundling’’ and the ‘‘Tiller effect’’
Issue 3 shows an example of unbundling - new audiences and new platforms
Issue 4 looks at the Capitol riots as a digital/physical event
Issue 5 talks about ‘‘the next best thing’’ with three examples of online events: ITALive, Tomorrowland, Microsoft
Issue 6 talks about micro-events, digital intimacy, and the Boschbot
Issue 7 looks at the history of videotelephony and talks about the role of screens
Issue 8 has eight examples of hybrid events and their use of (really big) screens
Issue 9 talks about non-events, like ChilledCow & Study with me, Pogchamps
Issue 10 is all about the stage, with three examples of the performing arts online
Bonus issue about the 80s subculture in Tilburg, 100 billion cassettes, and more.
Random share of the week
For those that reach the end of the newsletter, there will always be a small treat!