This week’s Fatherhood on Friday is a bit of a switcheroo, as we’re forgoing the usual roundup of dad news and content in favor of a few reflections about our first online event: Dad 2.0 Digital. It was a weird experience for a weird time, seeing our gathering reduced to a matrix of animate rectangles, but we learned a ton from our first digital effort:
- We learned that Michael Ian Black didn’t get much of chance to process the trauma when he was 12 and his dad died suddenly, and he wants his son to have an easier time learning how to be A Better Man.
- We learned that Dai Manuel knows a lot about physical and emotional health, and he’s exceedingly generous about sharing it.
- We learned that Richard Kind (below) is setting an example for his kids that men can and should have a group of close friends who help each other out when they need it.
- We learned that our customary Newbie Seminar reached new attendees all over the world and extended our reach to many men too far-flung from the States to attend in person.
- We learned that ranking better in Search is a mostly straightforward science of thinking like (and fighting for) the user.
- We learned that James Lopez, Jorge Narvaez, and Beau Coffron are counterpitching brands with more innovative, engaging ideas, and the brands are listening.
- We learned that Patrick Quinn sees a lot of potential for dads and online influencing when post-COVID business returns to normal.
- We learned how Alec Lace manages to work two jobs, parent four kids, and post five podcast episodes per week.
- We learned that Tom Riles and his wife Lucy don’t agree on much of anything, except that when you start something, you never know where it will go.
- We learned that Stewart Reynolds focuses on making content that insulates him from social-media trends.
We learned that video conferencing has a few drawbacks that are hard to solve. Beyond the lack of human contact, which we’ve all been coping with for months), we have to rely a lot on scheduling, since being separated limits the feasibility of chance meetings and improvised plans. The whole experience is sedentary and not conducive to physical health unless we get the chance to step away to stretch and stave off Zoom fatigue. And while attending a conference increases focus by keeping you physically separated from your normal life, staying at home keeps us subject to homelife multitasking and distractions and other needs that arise in the moment.
But mostly, we learned that we can still rely on online conferences to work when you utilize them to fulfill a specific purpose. In addition to the worldwide reach, we like the intimacy of the sessions, the instant shareability of slides and other ancillary reading, the gamification of contests, the option to repurpose recorded material for future use, and the various platforms that have found engaging ways to incorporate video conferencing into their interfaces.
But mostly, we re-learned what we already know: Conferences keep us connected, and not just during times like now, when connection is a premium commodity. We’ve always viewed any form of conference as a chance to recharge our sense of purpose, armed with new knowledge and a renewed awareness that we’re not doing this alone.
And we need to do that more than once a year.
Stay tuned for more about how we’re expanding and retooling our online offerings and planning our schedule for 2021, when we can—and will—all be together again.