During the past days I read a bit through the blogged feedback from others about re:publica. I noticed that there are lots of pro’s and con’s around discussing how the conference has been and how well it fulfilled the expectations of its visitors. Which is quite diverse!
The feedback from @Frau_Elise I personally agree with most, simply since re:publica went very similar for me, lots of chatting and networking and just feeling the joy of being able to meet so many “old and new” faces in one place, and even having the time to catch up with most of them over a coffee or two.
I already saw on the program that few sessions really would be relevant me, so it was clear from the beginning that re:publia would be mostly a networking event for my part. Which suited me perfectly since I knew I mainly want to see a lot of people! Means I didn’t expect much in terms of me learning something totally new from the beginning – one reads the title, knows who is doing the sessions and that usually indicates what you get on which level. But the sessions I did visit proved to be useful as expected! Plus I am still glad that I by chance also attended the session everyone is over the moon about, @wilddueck – that was not on my initial plan but definitely a highlight!
Then, obviously if you came to Berlin with some expectations regarding the sessions and for attending mostly these, plus you are more of a digital native than a digital newbie, then I can definitely understand voices like @ghensel’s .
On the other hand, sessions that were more basic, means like topics that have been discussed over a few years (and will be discussed in a few years), were probably very useful to people who’d finally wanted to get the hang of it, which is to my mind even more important than feeding only the geeks of us who (like me) follow important stories and discussions anyway online. I’d also argue that it is not that easy to get it right for all 3000 people, but I would still say that most things went right at re:publica. I at least had a great time, and many others, too, it seems.
What one could improve in terms of better session and program planning, though, is to try to find out who actually is coming and which expectations there are.
When registering for #rp12 one could probably let the participants put themselves into categories like “digital newbie”, “digital native” and “somewhere in between”. One could also let people choose from selected topics which areas they are most interested in, plus let them add new ones. According to that, the organisers could choose and plan sessions corresponding to the audience that will attend.
And then finally, like 2 – 3 weeks before the actual event when the program is ready, one could ask all attendees to pick their 5 top events per day – the sessions they really want to see. That way one might get an indication of how “hot” a session is and whether it should be taking place rather in a bigger or smaller room. Regardless who the speaker is. My 5 Cent.
But as you would have understood from my previous posts, re:publica was awesome for me just as it was. And I think it is always (with any event and anything in life!) what you make of it.