Thursday, February 17, 2011
Why RootsTech is the Bees Knees
All the RootsTech recaps are done. I hope you liked my play-by-play action. There's just a little bit more to say about the event. Here are a few reasons why I enjoyed RootsTech and felt it stood out from other national events of similar size:
The conference and all the sessions looked forward.
No matter the topic, all sessions and speakers' messages had a common element. They all had vision and considered the future, even when talking about the past. This is the attitude I want in the events for which I pay to attend, and I will look for that element in future conferences.
The environment encouraged the use of electronics and social media tools.
I am SO OVER events that dictate what I can and can't use to take notes and push content. I really appreciated that the RootsTech crew wanted me to use my netbook and phone. I took notes. I communicated with others at home. I was happy. In the future, I will seek out events that desire and accept their attendees to learn in all different ways, including with electronic devices.
RootsTech planners explored other session formats including unconferencing and ample use of the panel format.
I've really come to enjoy panel discussions and group collaborations. Speakers and lectures are great, but I want to hear more information from more people. Other fields have been doing unconferencing for years. Kudos to RootsTech for introducing it to the genealogy world. I hope to attend more of these sessions at Rootstech 2.0 in 2012.
I felt like FamilySearch was genuinely happy to have me there.
FamilySearch staff were always available and ready to help me. They provided extensive information for me to post on my blog, and really sincerely wanted my feedback. I can't say that I've felt that way at most of the major genealogy events I've attended. In the future, I will gravitate toward events that have the same type of positive vibe that was generated at RootsTech.
There was a variety of keynote speakers.
Did you notice that some of the best information came from non-genealogy speakers? I must tip my hat to the RootsTech planners for casting a wider net and reeling in some of the bigger names in the information field. Jay Verkler understands that genealogy is a lane on the information highway. It's time to get moving in the same technological direction as the other fields on the road, and RootsTech exists to see that it happens.
The vibe had no right or wrong, but instead a common goal.
At RootsTech, there were no citation police, no technology police, no ad nauseam email discussions on the beating of dead horses. Rather, it was a joining together event to discuss what we do and see how we can do it better. I dig this groove and will be looking for other events that share the same philosophy.
Keep the rock music.
This is so silly, but I heard a handful of complaints from folks that didn't like the music used to introduce keynote speakers. Really? Really. That's your main complaint about the conference? So I feel I must counter the crankypants faction and say I hope they keep the music and play more of it.
These are my people.
I don't feel inclined to say ABC and XYZ conferences should be more like RootsTech. Every event has its own personality and customer base. That's what makes them special. What I learned last week however, was that I have a preference for events like this here RootsTech shin dig. In the future, this is where I and my genealogy dollars will be. If your family history event has the same forward-thinking vibe, then maybe I'll come to your party, too, or not. There's a lot of choices out there now.
RootsTech 2011 was a game changer, and I feel blessed to have a front-row seat. It's a great time to be a genealogist.