Hybrid events

In general I’m short tempered and have a short attention span. One thing that annoys me more than anything else is if someone I’m talking to gets a phone call and moves away from the conversation.

In fact if I think about it more than 90% of my fights with my wife have been triggered by phone calls she gets while she’s taking to me, as a result of which she abandons me for the moment.

I’m writing this from a “hybrid event”. My wife is giving a talk at the Goa project, and this event is happening both online and offline. I’m offline, as are some twenty others. Another dozen people are online.

As an offline audience member I’m finding this damn annoying. The most annoying thing is that the moderator is online. And the way the event has been set up, online seems to take precedence over offline. The online moderator can interrupt. He can ask a speaker to repeat the last five minutes of her talk. And as a live audience member I find this insanely irritating.

The other problem with hybrid events is there is no scope for banter. Small offline events with 20 people can be rather intimate and have a high scope for banter. Like I cracked a wisecrack a few minutes back. People around me seemed to like it. And then one of the local moderators had to repeat the wisecrack to the zoom audience.

I wrote until this point in the first of the three talks. After that I decided writing this blog is not enough and protested (a tad too) loudly that the hybrid format was boring.

Then someone figured a simple nudge. They muted the zoom while talks were on. The remote people couldn’t interrupt as much as they used to. And the event became so much better.

So I guess, like everything else in design, its just about the defaults. Then again I don’t know if the online people were happy with the new default. Not that I care.

Though: the quality of CP is far superior from people in the room than from those who can hide behind a screen without camera on

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