Judging by some of the comments last week and some email I received, there is some confusion (and - oh my - maybe even a little hostility) about what Elderblogger PhoneCon is. Obviously, I did a piss-poor job of explaining it, so let’s see if I can clear up any misunderstandings.
Just For Fun
This is silliness and fun and (possibly) new friendships. We read and comment on one another’s blogs day in and day out – now we have an opportunity for a live chat. Think of it as a kaffeeklatch, a blog blab, a howdy-do and how-are-you. You can even call in and lurk – listen and not say a word, if that suits you.
Who Can Attend
I named this Elderblogger PhoneCon because 1. I stole the “PhoneCon” part from Jeneane Sessum's PhoneCon at Allied a couple of weeks ago and 2. added the “Elderblogger” part because I write about aging on a blog. That’s my focus, most TGB readers are elders and I would expect that most who attend would loosely fit those categories. But you don’t need to be either an elder or a blogger to phone in. Bloggers old and young, blog readers old and young, anyone who is neither and finds out about the event in some other manner - everyone is welcome.
What’s the Agenda or Topics?
There is no formal agenda. This is not a business conference. We have no goal but to maybe get to know one another a little better, find out what we sound like and perhaps we’ll laugh at Cowtown Pattie’s funny Texas twang. (She’s a good ol’ Texas gal and she won't mind.) And who knows, we could even get serious about something too. We’ll take it as it comes.
I’ve run a zillion meetings in my life, so I’ll cull some possible topics from past blog conversations here and elsewhere to throw into the mix if it appears we need them, but I doubt we will.
Oh, Dear. What Will I Say?”
You could start with “Hi everyone, I’m [name] from [blog name]”. Or “Hi, I’m [name]. I don’t blog, but I read a lot of blogs.” Or “Hi, I’m [name] and I just wondered what’s going on here.” Any of those would work fine when you first arrive.
After that, join whatever is going on, throw in your two cents, ask a question you're interested in, tell us why you phoned or what blogging means to you or...
Additionally, we might perform. Frank Paynter of listics has offered to sing a song as he did at Jeneane’s PhoneCon. Maybe we can get AlanG to sing a song too, which he’s already done on his blog. Perhaps someone has a poem to recite or a story to tell or a joke. Performances are welcome although I suspect dance exhibitions won't work well. Whatever is offered, applause and huzzahs will be forthcoming – I promise.
If we enjoy ourselves on 24 October and we like the idea, in the future we can schedule Elderblogger PhoneCons on specific topics.
96 People is Too Many and I Hate Telephone Conferences Anyway
To put it bluntly, then don’t call in. It is unlikely we will have anywhere near the 96-person limit (four or five or six at a time is more probable) and if we do, we’ll work it out. It might even be funny and laughing is always a good thing.
If you change your mind and decide to phone in, and it's as bad as you expect, hang up. We won't be insulted.
Six Hours is Too Long
No one besides me is expected to stay for six hours or even six minutes. The internet is a simultaneous, worldwide phenomenon. Six hours is the conference company’s time limit and it nicely accommodates various time zones so people can call in at their convenience. You can drop in and drop out of the conversation as many times as you like during the six hours depending on your interest and schedule.
I will post the times of the conference the week before and all pertinent information – time, telephone numbers, conference ID number – will also be available on the home page of Time Goes By on the day of Elderblogger PhoneCon, which is Tuesday, 24 October.
Like Jeneane, I’ll probably schedule it for 8:30AM until 2:30PM eastern U.S. time. That way, Europe is already awake as it begins, and Americans and Canadians can join in as the sun moves across the continent.
I Can’t Commit So Far in Advance
No one needs to commit at all. In announcing the conference a month in advance and updating it weekly until the conference, I hoped to pass around news of the event to a wider group of people than might find it just a few days before. I would not have known about Jeneane’s PhoneCon if Frank Paynter hadn’t sent me an email.
Even if you leave a note here saying you will attend and then you don’t for any reason – there is no penalty. We’ll all still love you.
Is This a Con Game?
Septuagent at Seventy and Rising said his first thought was that the name implies a confidence trick. “Con” is just shorthand for “conference,” a phrase that is widely used in the technology world to name various in-person conferences. You will not be asked for an email address or a name or any other identifying information. You can even use an alias, if you like, when you introduce yourself.
And there you have it. If I’ve left out anything you want to know or you still have questions, please leave them in a comment below or feel free to email me. If, like Frank Paynter, you want to schedule a “performance,” let me know and we’ll do it. And if you want to do that at a specific time, I’ll list it on the home page on Time Goes By on the day of the conference so your fans can call at the appropriate moment.
If you are so inclined to help promote this live, elderblogger whoop-de-doo, you could post the badge below on your blog and link to this page which has general information that will be updated as decisions are made.