in Education

Go to conferences? Use Lanyrd.

Introduction

Lanyrd: the social conference directoryBefore entering the realm with JISC infoNet, I really didn’t understand why there were so many conferences in Further and Higher Education . Now I understand:

  • The whole academic system is predicated upon papers, which need to be presented somewhere.
  • Lots of (usually JISC-funded) projects have to disseminate their outputs.
  • Some subject disciplines/specialisms can be narrow. People need to meet to discuss things.

Hence, conferences.

The Problem

There’s many conferences that may be useful to your research interests and specialism(s) but you may not hear about them until it’s too late. That’s particularly true if, like me, you’re given a brief in a topic to which you’re fairly new.

Up to now, I’ve been following influential people on Twitter, reading blogs and generally scouting around for a place I can find information about relevant conferences.

It’s far from ideal.

The Solution

I was delighted, therefore, when James Clay alerted me to a website that is focused on solving exactly the above problem. Lanyrd describes itself as ‘the social conference directory’ and works very well.

The idea is simple:

  1. You sign in using Twitter’s OAuth mechanism (so you can revoke access at any time)
  2. It finds out which conferences your friends are attending (you can indicate that other people are attending or speaking, you see…)
  3. You add yourself to conferences you’re attending or speaking at. There’s also the option to ‘track’ a conference.
  4. The (conference) world becomes a better place.

The thing about it is that, like Academia.edu, it’s a great idea that needs to gain traction through use. So please do have a look at it!

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