[APG Public List] Who Are We, Really?

Barbara Mathews bmathews at gis.net
Sun Oct 4 05:54:49 MDT 2009

Dick Eastman, in his newsletter on August 29th, touched on national
conferences and some of these issues. He made two points, but let me quote
the second:
2. The organizers of the successful conferences are not stuck in a rut. They
do not do the same things year after year. They experiment and try new
things. If successful, they do it again the following year. If the
experiment is unsuccessful, they drop it.
The article can be found at  <http://tinyurl.com/ycoowb8>
[Disclosure: I was program co-chair for one of the two conferences Dick
rates highly in the first paragraph. We did have a track of case studies,
for example.]
My take on the article is that Dick is saying -- whether the attendee is a
novice or a very experienced genealogist -- national conferences aren't as
attractive as they once were. He makes points about topics, the liveliness
of advance advertising, and the cost of major conference hotels. I think he
should have added the cost of traveling to small cities that are not major
airline hubs.
It all makes for good thinking points if you are involved in planning a
national conference. The fact that the people posting on the public list are
NOT saying that they themselves find these conferences very interesting
should be a red flag. The people who defend current conference topics are,
in fact, defending them for "beginners", a category in which they are NOT
placing themselves. 
Some of the happiest people I've talked to at NGS in recent years told me
that they were attending the BCG Skillbuilding Track. These people had gone
to the conference solely to attend that track and they were to a person very
pleased. So, while we are at it, hats off to Kay Frielich who has planned
those tracks for a number of years, as well as to the speakers she has
Yours, Barbara Mathews
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