Conferenced out27 September, 2010
Conferences are hard work.
Don’t get me wrong: PPIG is fun. Once again, I met (or re-met) a great bunch of tangentmongers, got friendly advice on my PhD, and for the first time in my life actually enjoyed giving a presentation*. The co-located VL/HCC was more serious and provided me with a completely different set of PhD advice; somewhere between the two I’ll figure out what to do next 🙂
The thing about conferences is that one is supposed to… well, confer. Talk, debate, discuss, network, opine, interact, make introductions, offer advice, ask questions, starting over breakfast, between each presentation, especially during the coffee breaks and at lunch, all afternoon, carrying on afterwards into the bar and through most of dinner, derailed only by copious amounts of alcohol. A few hours’ sleep, and then you do it all again the next day.
I understand the value of this, and sometimes I even enjoy it. But I’m an introvert and I’m conferenced out.
A good analogy for introversion is running. I like running. It’s fun. But it’s also tiring, and I can only do it for so long before I am exhausted and need to stop and rest. Fair enough, right?
But there are people around me apparently running marathons, conferencing hard all week from morning to night. I wonder how many of us are genuine extroverts, and how many are faking it**: joining conversations when we’d rather curl up into a ball, going to the pub when our instincts are to hide, pushing through the waves of noise to make the most of the opportunities. I think I’m getting the hang of it, but I’d quite like to curl up into a ball now please.
* “Hey, they’re all listening to me, cool!”. This has never happened before.
** You know who you are 🙂