My latest article for The Pragmatic Programmers talks about how my conference experience has changed over time. Conferences aren’t primarily for talks anymore. Now they’re for making and reinforcing connections within the community.
The best shortcut I’ve found is still sitting down and chatting with someone. Conferences are great for having such chats. They provide ample opportunities to mingle and maybe to share a quick bite or a cup of coffee. The informal, unstructured conversations you have with people offer a low-pressure way to get to know each other for a few minutes.
Of course, virtual conferences change this dynamic. For talks, they work pretty well. For the kind of interactions I like to have, they don’t. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a return to offline conferences again soon.