Ray Poynter is at it again. He has taken the concept of an online conference and made it global. On December 8, The NewMR Virtual Festival will officially kick off. True to Ray’s modus operandi the event is both leading edge and quirky. Before I launch into a bit of fun, I want to say how much I appreciate Ray and his team pulling this thing off. It’s quite a feat to launch a global virtual conference. Hats off to you Ray. Enough flattery, lets get on to the fun stuff.
- The programme begins at 1 a.m. GMT for this British-led conference because Part 1 is targeted toward Asia/Pacific. Ray himself will kick off the conference by getting up bright and early to begin his presentation at 1:08 a.m. GMT (not 1:05 or 1:10 a.m.).
- As if to emphasize the global nature of the “programme,” tickets are $50 (U.S. dollars). Unless, of course, you only want to attend one part (maybe the part you are actually awake to see) for $24 U.S. Be sure not to overpay and send in $25, as I’m sure there is a strict “no refund” policy.
- Of course, there is the ever-present conference poster contest. Every conference should have one. Posters range from serious works related to real research to…well…uh…not so serious. Submit your poster and you could win the $1,000 grand prize.
- If posters aren’t your bag, all you creative MR types (is that an oxymoron?) can submit a three-minute video on why someone would CHOOSE to work in the MR industry. The video contest also has a $1,000 grand prize.
- The conference hosts the Research Liberation Front for our under 30 friends. Apparently the RLF was started in a bar in Brighton. The RLF’s conference challenge is to recruit 10 “difficult-to-reach people within 24 hours.” I’m not sure what that means but, nonetheless, the winner will get “£100 for the best response” (note that it’s pounds now, not dollars).
- Finally, there is “The Fringe” where it seems virtually anyone can organize virtually anything. The obvious don’t-miss fringe event of the festival has to be Ray’s own effervescent webinar recording of Cluster Analysis and Factor Analysis. Oooo…feel the chills?
This is just a sampling of the festival’s good-natured fun. It’s easy to be critical and it’s easy to poke fun at anyone who is pushing the envelope of an industry, but I know I’ll be watching the festival to see the ground it breaks and the trails it blazes. There is no doubt that the festival will change the way we look at conferences in the future.