Skepchickcon and CONvergence have been over for more than a week, but I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Some of that is because I was enjoying our house guests instead. Some of it was because I went to TAM the day after those guests left. A lot of it was simply because I was still processing everything that happened. It was a packed long weekend.
The biggest and best thing to know about Skepchickcon (aside from the fact that I spent a long weekend surrounded by cool people I don’t see often enough and meeting many more) is that most of the sessions were full. Even those early in the morning had plenty of butts in seats, and those in the afternoons and evenings had people standing along the walls.
This was really good to see, but the popularity of the sessions also caused some audience frustration, I think. Panels that were meant for entry-level audiences (such as Skepticism 101) were frequently pulled into deeper waters by enthusiastic questions from more seasoned skeptics in the audience. It’s not anything impossible to fix, and I’ve already mentioned to Skepchick carr2d2 (aka Carrie Iwan) that I’m happy to help work on more specific panel descriptions next year to let audiences know better what to expect from any session.
The audiences were generally great, asking good questions and far more than we could get to in the hour each panel was given. The Physics or Fantasy panel in particular–to which we added Jim Kakalios (squee!) and Matt Lowry–generated a bunch of science fiction devices and technologies, which the rest of the panelists assessed for plausibility. Me? I moderated. I was completely outclassed in expertise, and my topics never came up. But I hope and suspect there will be more of these panels next year, where people can bring questions on various skeptical topics and let people answer them.
I had more to offer on my other panels. On several of them, particularly Science and the Internet (finding good information) and Science and the Media, I was the voice of non-academia, pushing resources for lay people that don’t require knowledge of how to read peer-reviewed papers. I was also the social media advocate, suggesting people use their current friend networks to gather information and to push out “cool” scientific findings and skeptical writing. I tried to encourage people to embrace their inner geek and use that enthusiasm to sell science and skepticism to others.
All in all, it was a great time and I think a fairly productive one. I’m not going to try to recap the panels individually, but I do want to thank my fellow panelists for being amazing. In particular, I want to thank Surly Amy and Debbie Goddard of CFI. Neither of them spoke nearly enough, but when they did, they always contributed something worth listening to.
This entry was posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 6:41 pm and is filed under Stephanie Zvan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.