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Maintaining Community During a Pandemic; A Guest Blog by Michele Playfair

Guest Blog
Aug 27, 2020

Like so many other groups and businesses, YOW! Conferences had to reinvent itself in this time of COVID-19. Our first two conferences of the year were scheduled for May and it became apparent that these would not take place as we had planned. Initially, we cancelled them altogether, but after attending a variety of other online events (mostly US-based), we felt encouraged that despite the challenges of working (and possibly schooling) from home, people were still keen to connect with their peers and learn in an online setting.

What we have found works well so far is providing decent gaps between talks to allow attendees to take a break; streaming and a text-based conference hub for Q&A and chit-chat allows people to easily catch up on anything they miss; it’s important to be able to see the speaker clearly rather than a disembodied voice narrating slides.

Using this formula our rescheduled YOW! Data and YOW! Lambda Jam online conferences proved to be a success and were appreciated by attendees from around Australia and an expanded global audience stretching from Switzerland to Brazil! We got some great feedback from folks who aren’t generally able to attend events due to their location or circumstances and who were excited to be able to attend online.

In addition to moving our 2020 conferences and workshops online, we’ve now introduced YOW! Online, a membership-based community intended both to support the software development community through this challenging time and to complement our face to face events when they return. Through YOW! Online we’ll be presenting talks, interviews and demos from our international expert speakers each month along with a Slack workspace that allows members to chat with the speakers and each other.

Of course, we’re all looking forward to getting back together again in person, but now that we’ve confirmed our theories that online events can allow wider and more inclusive participation, we’ll continue to make YOW! events accessible online. Our next online conference is for you Perth - September 4 in the Perth timezone! Hope to see you there!

If you’re looking to discover new ways to partner with Spacecubed, either by sharing updates of your events, meeting local business owners or connecting with our community, reach out to info@spacecubed.com today. Our Community Membership is the perfect way to stay in touch with everything happening across our spaces, including our flex spaces in Mandurah and Yanchep.