Don’t Waste Your Time

Hello again it's James, realizing that last week’s post jumped right into the deep end. I guess we started off on the abbreviated foot, and now it's time to break things down a bit. If you remember, I was brought onto the OTW Virtual Conventions team by Robin Young to write a blog about my experience with the company and the new convention experience they are building. The task was daunting, I am no professional writer, but Robin’s vision for conventions was infectious. So who is Robin anyways?
 
Robin Young is the founder of RRY Publications, which distributes the widest-read publication in Orthopedics, Orthopedics This Week. It is easy to see that Robin knows the orthopedics industry like the back of his hand, and is committed to the industry and its people. Seems like a lot of fluff, but this spirit is embodied in Robin’s newest endeavor, OTW Virtual Conventions.
 
I mentioned last week that you shouldn’t waste your time in virtual conventions. What does this mean? It means that most virtual conventions won’t be successful. They won’t attract attendees, customers, and sales anywhere close to an in-person event. Why? 
 
A handshake is a powerful thing. The job of a virtual convention is to simulate human interaction, to create the feeling of a handshake even though one can’t actually occur. However, most virtual conventions are about as effective at creating a connection as watching a recording of a lecture. I would know, I had to endure virtual classes for the last couple months of last semester, and they are far from recreating the classroom experience. Virtual Conventions in their current state may be live, they may include hundreds of doctors and sales people from around the world, but they are missing this key ingredient, community.
 
When you build a community you build connections beyond subject matter. Think about it from a college point of view. Did you make more friends in a class, or in a club? Did you make more friends simply by attending the same classes, or bonding with them through common interests and projects? It is the same with Virtual Conventions. A community can not form from watching the same live lecture or reading the same marketing material. A community forms by creating a virtual handshake, by creating opportunities to connect beyond the convention and its products. 
 
Yes, the goal of an OTW Virtual Convention is to provide a virtual space for suppliers to advertise their products, but at the same time to provide an industry-centric experience that connects professionals together. After all, if you just want to see or sell products, you can easily sign up for an account on eBay. Coffee chats, an easy to navigate attendee system, and a one click personalized connection to sales people, are just a few of the community centric features of OTW Virtual Conventions. You are also connected to the largest community of orthopedics professionals. By entering the Orthopedics This Week ecosystem, with a readership of over 200,000, you are already on your way to forming your virtual community-- a topic that we will discuss in a couple weeks.
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