Christian New Media Conference

This is the first in a series of posts about the Christian New Media conference and some issues raised by it.

Last Saturday I headed off to the Christian New Media conference in London. The conference was held at City University, which sits on leafy Northampton Square in Islington. Normally it’s pretty well connected transport wise with Angel tube a short walk to the north, and Farringdon and Barbican stations on the Circle slightly further south. However on Saturday, Transport for London had the Angel branch of the Northern Line closed totally, and services on parts of the Circle curtailed significantly along with a number of other closures effectively making any of my options for getting there pretty slow. In the end having found an NCP car park a short walk away, totted up the relative costs and time it actually worked out cheaper and quicker to drive!

For further reference traffic in the early morning on a Saturday is pretty light – I made it door to door coming in along the M4, round Shepherd’s Bush and along past Baker Street, Euston and Kings Cross in about an hour. Heading home was rather slower, but still not massively long compared to some people’s rail journeys!

City University was pretty nice once you got there – the main lecture theatre had clearly just been refurbished. Things were slightly chaotic since they hadn’t actually finished refurbishing in places giving a rather long hike to a toilet, and also because the university had classes going on elsewhere in the building with students mingling with the conference attendees. The organisation did seem to struggle to cope with the size of the conference at key times such as registration and the coffee breaks, and although many had prebooked lunch those prebookings weren’t enforced leaving frustration for some on collection. Having said that it was nothing like the chaos that the free for all at the Microsoft Developer Days produces.

The presenters were all good – there was only one technical hiccup once again demonstrating that you should never rely on a venue PC and should always bring your own computer. Bringing just a memory stick always ends in frustration. Having sat through many corporate and computer industry “death by PowerPoint” presentations it was also refreshing to have all the speakers use their slides to support what they were saying rather than just reading their slides to the audience. Indeed one presenter didn’t even use PowerPoint, instead going for Prezi – liable to induce motion sickness I suspect, but certainly makes a change.

The conference was also a chance to meet people I’d thus far only ‘met’ on Twitter. Needless to say I didn’t meet everyone, but then there is always next year!

All in all it was a good conference that gave me plenty to think about – more of which in subsequent posts. All of the issues are really growing pains as the conference, only in it’s second year, works out how to cope with the increasing interest in the topic.

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