The SoCraTes conferences are dear to my heart, and the one in Soltau every year is my most important conference date every year. This year some of us shared that we were attending and happy to be a ConferenceBuddy.
I created a public #buddies channel in the conference Slack, where I posted opportunities for buddies to meet at the first night of the conference (the evening where everyone arrives). 26 people joined.
On the first day of the open-space at the marketplace in the morning, I announced that if somebody felt that they would like to meet a buddy, I would be happy to meet during lunch.
And then, nobody showed up.
But this is totally what I expected to happen. SoCraTes Soltau is by far the most inclusive tech event I know, and everybody behaves incredibly welcoming and respectful. It is a safe space and also still kind of an insider-event, since it is organized by the community and non-profit. You usually know about SoCraTes because you know someone, who knows it.
But (!) I have received positiv feedback explicitlty referring to ConferenceBuddy and how it reduced the barrier for newcomers to feel welcome at the event.
So, this is actually a success story for ConferenceBuddy, because it’s like the phone number in a conference code of conduct: it needs to be there and you have to make sure that somebody answers it all the time, but its a good thing if nobody calls.
And here is how a participant put it:
Being myself very shy, timid and introvert and having been quite a lot to conferences alone, I know that feeling.— Thierry de Pauw (@tdpauw) August 16, 2018
This is a very interesting initiative. 👏@ConfBuddy is for everyone who wants to attend a tech conference but is afraid to go alone.https://t.co/boofp7gqYE