I took a few days off from blogging about FGS 2010. I had to catch up on sleep and unpack everything. By the way, finding a fruit cake in your conference bag is disturbing. (Thanks, Dad.) Now it's time to write up some of my thoughts about the conference.
First, it is so nice to be around other geneabloggers and geneatweeps. It's great to talk to people who get social networking and use it. It's also nice to be around so many other genealogists, including many under the age of 80. When you are the youngest member of your local society by at least half, it's nice to see people only a few decades older than you into genealogy.
I liked that the opening session was about fun. It wasn't a rant about the future of genealogy or a lecture on how you should do family history. It was a great way to bring enthusiasm to the conference right from the start.
One of the class tracks made announcements that Twittering was against the conference policy. I don't want to get into whether twittering a session is good or bad, but where was this conference policy? I never saw it in the conference materials. Was this the policy of the entire conference or was it just for this track? Did it have to do with the recording of sessions and recording company's policy? Another lecturer said there was no blogging about the session. This seemed to be her own policy. A defined social media statement from the conference organizers would have told attendees what they could use and how they should use it.
The conference materials should have been more specific in identifying the level of the lectures. A simple "beginner, intermediate or advanced" label would have helped many in choosing which sessions to attend. Although the different tracks help, you have to know about the sponsor of the track to identify the level.
Even within the sponsoring tracks, sessions were put together oddly. I took one session on English wills that was in the ICAPGEN track, but would have been better in the English track. Another was in the BCG skillbuilding track and shouldn't have been. Both lecturers stated that at the beginning of their talks.
I really enjoyed most of the sessions I attended. There is definitely a learning curve when attending conferences. You have to figure out which speakers are must see and which are must miss. When to skip a session and spend time in the exhibit hall. When to schedule a nap into the day. I think the only way to do that is to keep attending conferences.
I also thought that the location of the conference was great. Although it was downtown, it was not in an overly crowded city. Knoxville has a lot of culture and great restaurants within walking distance of the conference center. All the hotels were close enough that you could walk. I also liked that my hotel (Holiday Inn) was literally one block away from the highway. It made it simple to find.
I've pretty much decided that I will be attending FGS 2011 in Springfield, Illinois. I just wish that it was in August again instead of September. One of the main reasons that I chose to go to FGS this year was that it didn't interfere with the school year and I didn't have to take off work to attend. Now of course I need to get back to working so that I can save some money for next year.