How can we make more people watch conference videos?
Christian Heilmann
376

For a conference organizer, the priority 1 should be and must be the ppl in attendance at all times. They have paid for a ticket, paid for accommodations, paid for travel to attend the conference (or some mix of all three). If something from the conference doesn’t translate well to a conference video or the viewer, that should be secondary if not tertiary. That concern can be remedied w/ slides made available afterwards. But I must insist that the paid attendee must be made to feel like they are beneficiaries of the content 1st. 
I do agree that the q/a portion could use updating and curating. It’s actually a lot tougher to manage than it seems. You do want smooth and seamless execution, but are also faced w/ the unknown in the form of the q?s being asked. This is why I like the idea of channeling all q?s via something like twitter, where someone can aggregate the said q?s into a doc that a moderator or host has access to and can be prompted to ask right away. Google has done this at their events and seems to run very smoothly.
I must add the following: I would be gutted to not be able to hear a q/a, poor or not. There could be a great nugget discussed or a great q?s asked, and not having that chance would bum me out. I like to reference the time I watched a London Web Perf meetup video, and during the q/a, Ilya Grigorik had not a q? but a statement about image processing and Android devices which was a priceless bit of info. I use that quote to this day — all during the q/a. Some of the usual concerns during the q/a can also be addressed with a q/a rehearsal (yes, that’s right), to make sure that sound is right, and that a host/moderator knows to repeat the q?s. 
The demands made of a/v are certainly legitimate, but when conference organizers are trying to keep a low ticket price as Jeremy Keith wrote about recently, adding professional recording AND editing can get pricey. Add the transcripts that people seem to be demanding, and the costs are starting to slowly balloon. Again these are all great initiatives. They simply require resources. I reference the fantastic meetup run by the good ppl at SFHTML5. If you have the chance to attend and witness the event, you’ll have a better understanding of what it takes: they have a full team of a/v ppl — I want to say possibly 6–10. The back room is a full on studio. Truely impressive work. But that’s also paid staff. 
I simply don’t believe that ppl realize that videos take time to watch, and then digest. Many of the ones I watch, are done 2–3 times over to make notes and research content. That may truly be the biggest hurdle for many, and their need to edit / get the Coles notes. 
I personally have no complaints, other than reworking my own schedule and making time to watch these. I absolutely appreciate every single one that I watch. Something was taken away, and I’m thankful every time, and hopefully more learned. Fun post Christian. ;)

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