Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gearing Up For NetHui

Yesterday night a friend and I worked out our accommodation and travel details for NetHui. Even the money issues were dealt to. I'd booked my NetHui registration fairly early on. So I hopped onto the website to sort out his.

No dice. Unfortunately, he'd have to go onto a wait list. Well... far too late to cancel the trip. We'd brought non-refundable tickets to keep costs down. So I emailed the NetHui organisers to ask them how long the wait list was.

Sure enough, ask and you will receive. I got a very encouraging email saying that more seats would be opening up VERY soon and all those on the wait list should get in. Brilliant!

I was surprised when I got another email from the organisers of NetHui saying that over 300 people had already registered! Wait.... Am I reading this right? 300 people? That's less than your average Indian wedding. The first NetHui attracted 500 people. Last year it was 600. This year they only accommodated for 300 before deciding it was a good idea to perhaps find a way of opening more seats?

I've been really confused by the dates this time around as well. While in the first year it was held during school due to the messed up year (the rugby world cup caused an endless term and a term that just wasn't long enough). Last year they made a special effort to hold it during school holidays... this year though.... It's in the last week of term. So even if the education sector want to attend, it's right when things get crazy just before holidays.

So there doesn't appear to be any sort of education stream this year. Mores the pity. This has me worried. Has NetHui lost it's way? Is one of the biggest things I loved about it, it's focus not on the technology but rather on people, gone?

The first day looks like a complete mess. 6 "workshops". This could have been good. It would have been good. Except that the workshops are all very generic. There's nothing specific about them. The one I've registered for has a barcamp! Which of course... I hate. I hate it a lot. Be honest and call it what it really is. A really amazingly bad way to communicate with a mass of people. Unless steps are taken to give everyone an equal opportunity to communicate (within the parameters they're comfortable with i.e. you can not say that it was an equal opportunity to communicate if the only ones who got to communicate were the loudest because expecting everyone to be just as loud is unreasonable), a barcamp is somewhat worse than listening to one speaker. At the very least, one speaker has had time to prepare, think about what they're going to say and has a take home message in mind.

So a little under 2 weeks away and I'm really concerned. Is this going to be a great big giant mess? Of course, we're going to be "treated" to InternetNZ's latest pet, ultimately useless, project (in 2011 it was "The World Internet Project" - essentially a great example of the third type of lie - "lies, damn lies and statistics". In 2012 it was Computers in Homes which is nothing more than a public relations stunt. Notice how results of the whole project are never talked about. My experience with providers under this scheme is that they're horrendously protective of their income stream rather than being interested in empowering people).

Of course, while I've liked past events, a conference is always about the people. Talking over a coffee about what we're excited about and what has us concerned. So even if the conference does turn out to be a mess... well... at the very least I'll have been able to talk to people. No doubt there'll be a whole deluge of blog posts about it (assuming the Internet infrastructure is better than last year).

No comments:

Post a Comment