Greetings from the Christmas week. I hope you’re all doing well, and that those inclined to celebrate are having a grand time.
I’m writing from home, which feels like a rare occurrence after a high octane travel schedule (NYC, Bethlehem, Berlin, Istanbul over the past month). I’m also recovering from pneumonia, possibly exacerbated if not acquired by said travel, which is the main reason I’ve been relatively quiet.
But the work continues, despite illness, travel, and holidays! Today I want to share some news about my practice, one small and the other medium-sized. Both are experiments. For both I invite your feedback.
First, I’m opening up my Goodreads author page for Q+A. That means anyone with a Goodreads account can post a question about my new book, Academia Next. I’m happy to answer.
(I’ve been using Goodreads for years and have had a fine experience. Discussion is at least nice if not very good. And as a bibliophile I enjoy the shelf mechanism.)
Second, I’m launching a virtual presentation and consulting service. Usually people engage me to speak or consult in person, which is splendid. Yet I know some would-be clients can’t bring me out to their location for one or more reasons: logistics, cost, or concerns about carbon. So today I’m offering my services in an online option.
Anything you want me to do in person, we can do virtually.
I can present, address, or otherwise speak to your audience of any size through the videoconference technology of your choosing. I can also create and lead a workshop, or facilitate a meeting through the same. We can add other technologies as you like, including asynchronous ones (so far people have asked for Google Docs, Twitter, email, and Slack). I can provide videoconference and asynchronous tools if you prefer.
We can customize this to your specifications. I can take up as much time as you like, from a few minutes to several hours (although people have a limit of how much videoconferencing they can do at a sitting, perhaps 90 minutes). We can use telepresence robots at one or more audience sites, if you like. And since I have more than 25 years of experience, I can make the virtual work well.
Why am I doing this now? Several reasons.
- I now have access to very high speed and very reliable bandwidth at home, so I can offer virtual events at the drop of a hat.
- I want to be able to work with colleges, universities, libraries, nonprofits, companies, and governments that have tight budgets. That condition seems likely to persist or grow. Virtual events cost you 1/2 to 1/4th of my in-person fee, and also don’t involve additional travel charges.
- Virtual events may well become the main way we do these kinds of professional meetings. Concerns over carbon costs are starting to cause academics and academic-adjacent people to rethink travel, especially long-haul trips by air. We are also becoming more accustomed to virtual conversations, partly as the tech improves, and also as we gradually adjust to its characteristics. We could experience the majority of conferences, workshops, and meetings through video (plus other tech), reserving a relative handful of occasions for face to face. That’s the present direction of trends. I’m willing to bet – professionally on their continuation.
What do you think of these two moves, virtual and Goodreads?