Wish I could say otherwise but I’m not holding out much hope that 2022 will be very different than 2021.
I predict (guessing really), we’ll see 3 coronavirus spikes throughout the next year; starting now with Omicron. That should wane around February, if history is any indication, leaving us a little in the dark about SXSW in Austin. We’ll see another spike from a variant in the summer, and then again as winter comes on.
I’m not one for conspiracies nor partisan political views so I try to form my own observations about what we’ve been going through, and I have this theory that we see spikes from the virus when people start getting inside more. Look back at the charts: August > December > August > December. No idea if this is true and certainly no science behind the observation… just seems interesting that despite quarantine or vaccine: August > December > August > December. Hottest part of the summer > Holidays and weather consistently cold.
Thus to the question at hand… big “indoor” events? I don’t see society getting back to any time soon to the degree that was the case a couple years ago. Small indoor events seem less substantial. Controlled indoor groups (k-12 schools) seem to handle it. Outdoor activities don’t seem to fuel things as much.
The great challenge, I think, is that people are really tiring of streaming/virtual. AR, immersive, and even metaverse (virtual world) events had a bit of a hey day when people found them novel and worth a shot… after trying them out, I find most people find them more hassle than they’re worth. Few ever really wanted to watch conferences and keynotes through a screen, circumstances aren’t going to change that.
I may sound like a bit of a pessimist but I really see it more so as pragmatism; that people long for time together and we’re not getting it behind screens and on phones.
Is there a bright side?
Yes, and I believe it to be much simpler : people do want to consume content and have experiences online.
Companies and organizations that produce more, more frequently, rather than hoping everyone will get together when/where they want, will thrive.
Write more. Podcast more regularly, more like radio, less concerned with show listener count and more concerned with frequency, production quality, and consistency (think, always on rather than event). Hold a weekly live chat no matter what the topic, just so people know it’s there, on, and available.
AND though too consider my second point, it’s not just the frequency, consistency, and quality of content, it’s the fact that people expect to have meaningful experiences. No one wants to just hear a talk or meetup online. DO something.
Make it a whiskey tasting. Make it a virtual white board session. Make it live pitch feedback.
If we’re getting online, to get together, and consume some content (news, articles, podcast, livestream), make it more meaningful than what I can already get online anyway. There has to be a compellingly different reason we’re getting together there, then, and in that way.