Posted by Jerry Silverman on March 02, 1999 at 02:08:57:
In Reply to: Will the web replace conventions? Not a chance. posted by Steve Price on February 28, 1999 at 19:25:49:
: Dear Jerry and All,
: The electronics revolution is surely upon us, and the web is one of its miracles. This has changed much of what we do, and will change even more. BUT, the rug convention is probably here for the foreseeable future.
: What's the evidence? Hearken back to a previous topic, the one about rug conventions. The high points for most folks was the dealer fair and the exhibitions. That is, what people really savor at the rug conventions are the hands-on rug fondling and the live interactions with their fellow neurotics. These, it turns out, are precisely the things the web can't replace. We can put lectures (slides an all) onto a monitor, we can put pictures of rugs, we can even have discussions. But we can't rub rugs or give each other the reassurance that only another living, breathing, ruggie can.
: Steve Price
All well and true, Steve.
BUT, let's face it, rug conferences by their very nature limited to those with sufficient affluence to travel, spend several days in a hotel, and pay registration fees. You surely aren't saying that only those who meet that financial criterium should be allowed exposure to conferences. The technology exists right now to expand every future conference to anyone with Internet access if only the administrative will allowed. Setting up the Web site would not be all that difficult (as we have proved ourselves - well, not impossibly difficult anyway).
Would the experience for the virtual participant match that of the actual participant? Of course not - for all the excellent reasons you've cited above and about which we talked in the earlier Salon. A bowl of vanilla ice cream isn't as good as that same vanilla ice cream with hot fudge drizzled over it and topped with whipped cream, crushed walnuts and a cherry. On the other hand, it's still a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
I agree that the rug conference is here to stay. The Internet, however, has the power to open it to a far wider audience. And eventually it will.
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