Zoom fatigue was coined as a relevant term in 2020 when the pandemic took charge of the world, and Zoom was the solution we all needed. The Harvard Business Review wrote the first article about Zoom fatigue on April 29, 2020, and National Geographic beat them to the punch on April 24, 2020. While Zoom got all the fame, the same science around fatigue applied whether you were Google Meeting or Microsoft Teaming.
Despite the fatigue, people pressed on. Video conferences took on a whole new life. Major corporations transitioned in-person events to Zoom. Some organizations practiced condensing full-day conferences down to 90 minutes. It seemed like all companies had a sales pitch to deliver after 45 minutes of training in webinar format.
Initially the feedback was outstanding. People couldn’t believe all this free content. People couldn’t believe how much they were learning in such a short amount of time.
Until…it was too much and everyone was inviting you to spend hours and hours of time learning with them about their product. Yes, the sales pitch disguised by the good-natured learning opportunity started to wear us down. Exhaustion set in. Signing up for events remained easy.
Showing up…not so much!
Everyone’s favorite question became, “Will there be a recording?”
As the pandemic ensued, people longed for a return of in-person events. People longed for a return to normal.
But what happens when people realize normal changed?
I Still Love Zoom
Before my Zoom lovers start to fidget and tune me out, let me acknowledge that I love Zoom. I had used Zoom successfully long before the pandemic started, and I spent many hours at the beginning of the pandemic teaching people how to use Zoom effectively.
I’d do that all again. Zoom is an important tool.
It makes distributed work possible. Zoom is meant for meetings where two people engage in conversation.
Zoom is also meant for lectures where one person speaks and many watch.
In this case, I wonder why the person doesn’t create a recording and host it on Hello Audio and send the recording in a link.
But who am I to judge?
Zoom Is NOT An Event Venue
I have a tremendous amount of empathy for event organizers who were charged with transitioning in-person events to online venues. I know they did the best they could with what they had.
Initially, a Zoom event worked. People could gather and that was the goal.
After a while though, attendees started to expect more.
Event organizers attempted to solve the problems of creating a larger scale event with multiple sessions by building out a website with links to various Zoom rooms. It worked, and the webpage served to add some depth the event branding.
Then Zoom bombing became a thing. That meant attendees would have to register for multiple sessions or event organizers would need to manually do that work.
Ultimately, creating a Zoom event requires some very talented and very organized event planners because making all the pieces fit together in the back end is lots of work.
When I Attend A Conference This Is What I Expect
Truth be told, I attended two conferences in December of 2022. Both felt a little bit off as people were still learning to negotiate the space and accommodate peoples’ comfort levels as we were still very much living through a pandemic.
As an attendee when I arrive at a conference in-person or online, I typically have a goal to learn as much as I can and connect with as many interesting people as I can.
At one of the events, I accomplished all my goals. I learned a lot. In fact, I left knowing I had more to learn and a plan for how to learn it. I also did a fair amount of networking that has proven to be impactful. The majority of this event was spent in conversation with people.
This event did require a hotel stay but not require a flight and in total, it was about a 30-hour experience.
The other event didn’t really hit the mark for me, but it didn’t miss it either. It did most of what in-person events did before the pandemic. Keynote session followed by sessions presented by practitioners in the field followed by time and food in the vendor hall. There was networking at meals and drinks poolside in the evening.
As I said, it was not bad.
But did I get enough value to warrant a three-hour flight and 72+ hours away from my family? It was a significant investment of personal time and organizational dollars to have an okay experience.
And most of the time, the event design declared I be a listener more than a contributor. I think I’m learning that while I’m fine with listening, I enjoy the opportunity to contribute.
Could Virtual Events Be As Impactful as In-Person?
I started off this post with an examination of Zoom and whether or not it meets our needs for a virtual conference.
Straight up…It doesn’t. Not without a whole lot of hacking systems together.
But there are so many options besides Zoom. Run The World. Airmeet. Hublio. Braindate.
And our absolute favorite at Modern Learners is Hopin.
We experienced the Hopin at a very well-designed and executed event that blew us away. We learned a whole lot, and we connected with so many people.
After that experience, we created our own Conference of Conversations in Hopin. Then people asked us if we could help them design and execute their events, so their people would have an awesome experience too.
We could help our people so we did.
We became a Certified Partner with Hopin, and we’ve supported over 132 events for schools, regional service agencies, education organizations, and government agencies.
We’ve hosted everything from a job fair for a state agency to a school finance conference for a federal funding organization. We’ve served attendees from all over the world including over 2500 in the Middle East for a Thought Leadership event.
We do hybrid too. Last April the Midwest DJs did a hybrid event that was over the top. I swear DJs have so many skills!
In every event, people have learned and people have connected.
Sure, It Comes With A Cost
Modern Learners wants to help you design and execute your next learning event. It won’t be free or do it yourself, but our experience will likely prove to level up your virtual and hybrid experiences.
And…we do all of the work.
You tell us your goals and objectives and we can support you with everything.
Our pricing starts at $2000.
It’s time for you to experience something beyond Zoom.
We’ll make it worth every penny.