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author's profile photo Susan Keohan

What are you missing from SAPPHIRENOW? For me, it's the 'hallway conversations'!

On Friday, June 19, we held a post-SAPPHIRE wrap-up with any community members welcome - to discuss what we liked about the 'reimagined' conference, what didn't work, what we missed. You can read Katarina Nonhebel's blog about this wrap-up here.

One of the things I miss most are the hallway conversations, or wherever they take place. Sometimes I'd purposely sit with a table of complete strangers at lunch and I would always enjoy learning about what they were doing and what they thought. Sometimes I'd get a good tip on how to do something, or some good info to lookup. Mostly it was good to connect with other people.

Well, obviously these days we can't have those spontaneous chats. I thought that maybe, just maybe, community members might be interested in short calls (perhaps driven by topics, or perhaps just 'happy hours') to give us the chance to talk.

Then I read this article about 'Zoom burnout'. Well yes, it *is* a real thing! I can tell you because when we're on a Zoom meeting, if I have video on, I am way too focused on what people's background is, or what they look like. Much more than I would be in real life. If you and I were walking to the convention center in Orlando, it would be completely expected that both of us would be sweating, and lugging our laptops, and yet we would still be chatting. Nobody would judge me (I HOPE!!!) fora little good old fashioned sweatiness. But on a Zoom call, you just might!

Taking all that into consideration... our need to connect, our desire for human contact, and the most likely reaction to someone proposing yet even more virtual meetups, I'm still going out on a limb here. I'm going to offer to hold a non-video-enabled Zoom meeting on a semi-regular basis. Say, once every two weeks. Bearing in mind that I work on the east coast of the US, I know this won't be convenient for some people, but perhaps other community members would be willing to set up their own meetups? I don't think you need to use Zoom - these could be BYOP (Bring Your Own Platform).

Are you interested? Would you like to hold your own meetup? Are you burned out? There are no wrong answers! We can even try to share tips on avoiding virtual meetup burnout (how very meta of me).

Let me know in the comments. This is not an official SAP thing, this is just between us friends.

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