Is the Future of Conferences Virtual?
‘Tis the season… for Christian conferences. As I tweeted the other day, it seems like there’s been a Christian leadership or ministry/tech conference going on every day since Labor Day. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, the Lutheran Educators Conference, Catalyst, and Cultivate this year. But thousands of other people who would have loved to be a part of these conferences could not because of the time and cost of travel.
While at Cultivate, Neal Locke saw one of my tweets from the conference and emailed me about the growing trend in virtual conferences. Take a look at this this video showing a virtual conference…
Pretty wild huh? Could you see yourself participating in a virtual conference like this?
(You can read more on the Virtualis Convention and Learning Center here)
Right now I think virtual conferences are a ways from becoming mainstream because virtual worlds are still a ways away from becoming mainstream. So, while virtual conferences may reduce the barriers of time and money they introduce new barriers of competency and comfort with the virtual world.
But the number of people engaged in virtual worlds like Second Life continues to grow.
Twenty years ago it would have been crazy to think you could get 10,000 people to sign up for an Internet-only, live streamed Christian leadership conference, but now that most Americans have high speed Internet access and view video online on a daily basis, the Leadership Network was able to pull that off with The Nines conference.
Could it be that in 20 years (or less), the Internet will no longer be primarily a 2 dimensional experience viewing flat text, images, and media, but a 3 dimensional experience?