Location Location Location

I have just returned from a grand time at the CUE conference in Palm Springs…..

As many of my readers know — I very much enjoy the “social” connections at conferences.  The opportunity to sit down and catch up with friends who I see F2F not often enough.   I enjoy laughing with friends, hugging friends, crying at times, and just making a good friendship even better.

Which is why I truly enjoy the blogger’s cafe.  2007 in Atlanta was life-transforming for me in my ed-tech world because of blogger’s cafe.    My tiny little world of ed-tech suddenly became huge.  Names I only knew because of blog posts suddenly became real faces.  Everyone was learning together, sharing together…..it was….and almost always is…..my watering hole.

I even told Cameron, my junior high admin who went to CUE as well, “if you can’t find me, head to the blogger’s cafe.  It is in this corner, look for the sofa and chairs.  It will be a busy place.”

So, what a surprise I had when I went over to the blogger’s cafe…..and it was not there.   It had been moved.

Now the one thing about the CUE blogger cafe in the past is was it had been located on a very popular corner.   People were passing by all the time….and because of its location — it was very very easy to meet up with people, call people over, and get people involved.

But this year — it had been moved…..to the very very back of the exhibit hall but partially blocked by a wall.

Now, I cannot say it was empty — because it did have people in it off and on — since it was also the CHROME notebook location…..

but it — and CUE Unplugged were both highly overlooked and unseen this year.

Now, I don’t know if I am trying to cling to something of my past and wish it to continue now — or if I realize that the blogger’s cafe (or whatever we call it) really REALLY needs to have a location of importance and visibility!

But I know that a few weeks ago — at the TCEA conference in Texas, they too had to move the “Web 2.0 Lounge” to a new location because it had gotten SO popular that they needed more space.   This year, CUE moved the blogger’s cafe to a new location — but it became almost invisible.

I would like to suggest the following:
Next year — at CUE….
Put the blogger’s cafe just outside the registration area.  To the RIGHT of the main convention center doors.  Near the Primrose A room…but closer to the windows.
This way — it is both seen, very very easily accessible, and I bet it becomes the “watering hole” for a lot of attendees.

Just my thoughts
Jen

2 Comments

  1. 1

    I don’t think you are “clinging to the past.” I think the unconference, less formal blogger cafe setting is an essential component to contemporary conferences and these areas/events should be very accessible and visible to all attendees (in order to draw in new people).

    The TCEA area did move this year because it was so popular last year, BUT it was moved to the far side of the convention center where nothing else was located. We did find a short-cut to the rest of the session areas by using a backdoor to the vendor floor, but I did worry about the visibility of the area to other conference attendees who didn’t already know about it. If they did know about it but didn’t know about the vendor floor shortcut, it was a LOOOONG walk to get to the lounge.

    On a selfish note — I enjoyed the fact that the Web 2.0 Lounge was somewhat isolated on the far side of the convention center, but it would stil have been nice for it to be not so distant from the other session rooms.

    One cool new feature of this year’s TCEA Web 2.0 Lounge was the Dell Media Center — a set of large flat screens displaying a ton of social media data along with a constantly updated tweet stream. My recommendation for next year would be to place some of those flat screens in other areas of the convention center as a reminder to others about the ongoing backchannel.

  2. 2

    I agree with Jen as well. The round tables that CUE set up right by the windows are a natural gathering place for people to sit, rest & chat. It does not block traffic or prevent people from moving between sessions and the exhibit hall. It would be a perfect place for the Google lounge/Bloggers cafe. I’d suggest they even go a step further and put up a couple of SMART or Promethean boards for impromptu learning sessions as well.
    The high visibility would make such a gathering place easy to find for those who are searching for it, but it would also bring in new people unfamiliar with such things and give them an opportunity to learn, network, and cultivate their PLN.

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