First of all, some textbook definitions:
- a meeting for an exchange of ideas; a conference
- short for Web-based seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web
Everybody knows what a seminar or a conference is, so there’s no need to stress on that. So far, seminars and conferences were available only to people that lived in the vicinity of the conference hall or meeting room or were willing to spend a lot of cash to get to the conference. But not any more! Nowadays technology grants access to such conferences to anybody who has a computer and a broadband connection as his/hers disposal. And a new word was coined to describe this kind of meeting – webminar. Of course these web seminars have major advantages of traditional one, mainly because everyone can attend. You can record a webminar and watch it later, without losing anything. But webminars lack that “I’ve been there, I’ve actually been there” feeling. Of course you can say “I’ve been there” if by that you mean “I’ve sat home in my underwear and watched some dude talk for two hours”.
I watch TED a lot, and I’m grateful that technology grants me this kind of access to information, but still, it’s more like watching a documentary rather than attending a conference. I’ve already added “attending a TED conference” on my long to do list! I was very disappointed when I’ve found out that Richard Stallman won’t actually be present at eLiberatica, instead they’ll just have a video recording with him. It’s just not the same. I was dying to ask him a couple of questions. Maybe some other time…
Another part that is lost when attending webminars is the ability to make connections. Since nobody makes small talk during the breaks at webminars (some of them don’t even have breaks) in kind of hard to make connections. And you can pause or record them for future use, which kind of takes the “eventfulness” out, since you can watch and re-watch the conference over and over again while eating your morning cereals.
But, in the end, I’d rather see a conference on my laptop than not seeing it at all, so webminars are just another way in which technology makes our life better.
PS: speaking of seminars, I’ll hold a presentation next week in Cluj at GeekMeet about Zend Framework and PHP. If you’re in the vicinity and willing to attend, you’re more than welcomed to join us.