Open Thread Thursday: What Did You Think Of RootsTech?

Genea-Blogger, Thomas MacEntee, posted the following, and I thought that I would take a moment to respond.

This week’s topic for Open Thread Thursday is:

Last week’s RootsTech was an outstanding success on many levels based on blog posts, social media chatter and other feedback circulating on the Internets.

Whether you attended in person, watched the live streaming from home, followed the blog posts and tweets, or just downloaded videos and syllabus material, what did you think of RootsTech?  If possible, let us know your thoughts about:

1. Did RootsTech live up to your expectations or the hype, especially if you were a first time attendee (in person or online)?

After staying home and watching RootsTech2011, three was no way that I was going to miss RootsTech2012. It was a great experience to be there, in person.

2. If you “played along at home” via the RootsTech website, how was the quality of the content? Were there any technical problems in watching the live stream?  Are video clips and handouts easy to find?

The nice thing is, that I can still go back to view the Streaming Sessions that I missed while I was there. Still trying to catch up with them all.

3. What about the mix of genealogy and technology?  Was it too “techie” or perhaps not enough tech?

Looking back on this question, I thought that the Technical (Developer) side was too techie, and the User or Genealogy track was too basic.

There were a couple of developer sessions that I wanted to attend, but they were at a much higher level then what I could learn from.

I attended one Unconferencing session, on the developer / technical side and I was right, it was too high for me. The topic of the discussion was one thing, but the discussion strayed from the topic.

The User Track was good, had lots of great presentations, but a number that I attended were a little too basic. Or more suited for a “normal” genealogy conference.

I was hoping to see and be able to participate in the User / Developer discussions that is what THIS conference was all about. It was more of a show off of what “we” can do, rather then a discussion about would I would like to see, or asking of the question about what a User would want.

On the flip side of that coin, was the opportunity to talk to the Vendors in the Exhibit all. I did take advantage of that. I had a couple of specific things I wanted to learn more about, and I did get that and was able to talk specifically to a couple of vendors who were very interested in the discussions.

I took advantage of that discussion time, and missed a couple of classes that I had scheduled myself to attend.

This may only be me, but I didn’t see the User to Developer discussions, out in the open, that I had expected to see. That may be only my perception.

4. If you attended in person, anything about the logistics or the facilities that you would change? Does RootsTech need a larger section of the Salt Palace Convention Center next year?

The issue here was there wasn’t enough time between sessions. You have 15 minutes to change “classes”. If I was on the 1st floor, and the class was on the 3rd, it was very difficult to get there in time. The flights of stairs were very long, and very few elevators. Sorry, I am not as young as I used to be.

5. If you were King or Queen of RootsTech and planning for 2013, what would you do differently?

The ‘networking’ was the most important part of this trip for me. That is the time to meet and talk to people, in person, that I know through the Genea-Bloggers. I missed classes to do this, and to spend time with a couple of the Vendors.

The change that I would like to see is a more formal time for Users to speak with Developers. There were times to do that in the Exhibit Hall, but that was too noisy at times.

I might call it a huddle room discussion area, where a vendor would be able to be in part of a class room, where users could sit around and chat. It wouldn’t have to be everyone, but an opportunity for small groups to sit around an chat.

Dialog like: Here is what we are thinking about doing…. What would you like for us to do …. Here is something that I would like to see your product to do … I am trying to solve this problem ….

Discussion areas, in addition to the presentation areas.

6. What would your elevator speech be for RootsTech if someone unfamiliar with the event were to ask you “What’s RootsTech?”

A Great place to meet other genealogists and to be presented with the future of our hobby (obsession).


2 Responses to Open Thread Thursday: What Did You Think Of RootsTech?

  1. Jenna says:

    I agree with many of your comments Russ. The sessions were way too basic! They could have cut down on the number of sessions each time period to give attendees time to network, visit the exhibit hall etc. I felt so rushed! Especially when people figured out how full the rooms were going to be, they ran straight from one session to another to try and get a seat. Regarding the session topics and level, I have to wonder…were advanced level topics not submitted or were they not accepted???

    • Jenna,

      What I don’t know, nor could I tell, were Developers sitting in any of the User sessions. I know there were Users in Developer sessions.

      IF the developers were in User sessions, I don’t know what type of session would they be interested in. A Basic or an Advanced class. Would a developer sit in on a basic genealogy class.

      I hope that others comment on this topic and get the feedback to directly, or through the Bloggers.

      Thank you for your comments.


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