Changes are occurring so rapidly at conferences that it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything. Many view these changes as positive progressive developments that are better addressing the ever-evolving needs and preferences of participants.
But some long-term participants, in particular, aren’t fond of many of the changes, and view conferences as too eager to incorporate the next big thing without sufficiently considering the ramifications.
Loss of familiarity: Many conferences have become much larger and busier. Some long-term attendees miss the more relaxed atmosphere and intimacy at the old conferences.
Loss of memories: Some participants miss micro-events, such as a specific type of networking reception that enabled them to meet others, and traditional education sessions. They also feel that the intimacy of traditional, smaller conferences better enables them to experience life-changing moments.
Loss of comfort: Just about all of us desire to have some familiar routines and predictability in our lives. The comfort of familiarity appeals to some conference attendees. Growth and change takes them out of their comfort zone.
Loss of power: Having more people at conferences can dilute the power base of veteran attendees. New influencers appear on the scene and often either nudge long-term attendees out of leadership roles or gain their own share of the pie.
Loss of perceived intimacy: While many attendees see larger conferences as opportunities to meet new people and get new ideas, some complain that the growth in participants results in less intimacy with others, and therefor they feel less close to them.
Loss of style: Many new attendees don’t particularly like traditional-style conferences in which there’s a main presentation, award-winners ceremony and pageantry. They’ve pushed for changes, and often succeeded, to the dismay of some long-term participants.
Loss of time: The schedules and session formats at many conferences have changed, resulting in the availability of many more options. This leaves some veteran participants yearning for the traditional, less busy format where sessions were longer and more broadly based.