So I got a ticket to Connect.Tech in Atlanta and was looking forward to getting out and testing the waters by going to an in-person conference in 2021.
After the end of 2019, and all of 2020, there were no conferences and the virtual conference/event landscape boomed. Fortunately for most of us in the developer/design communities, we were able to attend a lot of conferences that we wouldn't have been able to before for whatever reason. Albeit price or venue, we could just flip Zoom on or some other platform and attend from the comfort of our own home.
Unfortunately, Zoom fatigue exists. At the end of October, I was exhausted. I had just attended TPAC and Clarity Conference. I presented at WebDirections and A11yTOConf. It was a lot. A lot of information, a lot of having to sit in one place for hours. I don't want to do another virtual event again, following some people I know that don't want to do another virtual event either.
Not because of the event, but because of the fatigue.
Enter Connect.Tech and traveling. It had been since An Event Apart in Denver, in 2019, that I had traveled and attended a conference in-person. I had a little bit of trepidation, but decided to give it a shot and I was glad I did.
The event was handled responsibly by the organizers, Pritik patel and Vincent Mayers. Meals were good, breakfasts and lunches were okay. Lots of speakers and some workshops on Monday, prior to the event kicking off witht eh talks on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I got to see a few people from Twitter that I know. Chris DeMars, Homer Gaines, Sia Karamalegos, Kayla Sween, Mark Noonan, Patricio Vargas, and got to meet a ton of other Twitter/online people I knew and people that I have heard fo but not really interacted with. I was talking with Vincent and we talked about the "hallway track", where I think I get the most out of a conference, chatting with folks in the hallway and where the conference really takes place.
Then I got asked if I wanted to speak. Now I am at an in-person event, and I had never done an in-person talk before. I said, "Yes." with no hesitation though. Whether it was spontaneous or not, I had gone all-in. Now I had to do the talk.
I decided to do the talk on my Smashing Magazine article, "Making A Strong Case For Accessibility" and between working through the conference and attending as many talks as I could, went back to the hotel room and worked on a presentation, adding a few more things towards the end of the talk that I wanted to to give this a test run and stretch the talk out some so that it ran the alloted 50 minutes or so.
Did not have a huge crowd, but I think that the crowd I had was great and that it was large enough that I could feel as comfortable as I could up on stage.
Regardless, I think it did well, I know areas I could improve on, and I will be working to iron out the rough edges and hopefully make this a talk I can give in the future.
I highly recommend going to Conenct.Tech, it is a great event, and I look forward to attending in 2022.