Conference 101: To laptop or not to laptop

That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer . . .

Let’s face it. Laptops are heavy. They are not the latest technology. One speaker yesterday even said that laptops were “for old people”.  However, there are a lot of things for which people at a technology conference, naturally, will want their laptops.

As a habitual conference-goer, I have evaluated whether I need to carry the thing around and have decided that, with the availability of everything I need on my smart phone (which now is an HTC Evo, but when I decided this was a *blush* Motorola Moto Q), I didn’t need to carry around a laptop.

Here are some things I have learned since then:

  1. Although you can easily take notes on a smart phone, many speakers seem to think you are texting and not paying attention.
  2. Even if you are not taking notes on the phone, sending tweets is a very valid and well-known form of backchannel – which many speakers seem to think means you are not paying attention.
  3. Every tech conference I’ve been to has at least one “email station” where you can do anything for which you require a keyboard.
  4. Be sure to bring the charger for your phone! It doesn’t do any good to go to a conference with the intention of only carrying around your phone when, in fact, you end up having to lug your laptop around because it is the only way to charge said phone!

I know this isn’t much, but they are the small insights I have gained over the past three years of phone-toting conference-going. Please add your own thoughts by adding a comment.

All that said – look for me at TCEA. I’ll be the one using a laptop for a phone charger . . .


2 responses to “Conference 101: To laptop or not to laptop

  1. I was at a conference this weekend and brought my laptop. I am always surprised in today’s day and time that the internet is not readily available at conferences. In fact, I couldn’t even get a cell phone signal to tweet about the conference. Many of the rooms were packed full of people (standing room only in some) and I could not even open the laptop because we were so crowded. When are these conference people going to wake up in the 21st century?

  2. Pat,
    I think it takes a long, slow change. If I think about the conference I’m at today and how it was, even last year, I can see things changing. This year there are more electronic devices – last year many people were still using paper and pen. The room I’m in today last year had a secure internet access that only a few were given the key to, while this year, it is free, unsecured internet. Very slow changes.

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