Monday, October 31, 2011

My first Webinar

Panic hasn't set in quite yet, but I'm giving my first webinar, The 1940 US Census, on Saturday. Tomorrow is the dry run, so hopefully I'll be able to figure it out before Saturday, work out the kinks and have it all run smoothly. While it's fairly easy to set up a webinar, the trick, apparently, is being in a place that has a direct, hardwired internet connection. As this webinar is for the Rhode Island Genealogical Society, we have our meetings all over the State, it seems that the probability of consistently getting that direct connection may be quite low, so I'm trying some fancy stuff using my phone. (I'll have to blog about how much I love my Android smartphone at another time!).

As this is a first, not only for me, but for RIGS as well, I'm expecting a ton of technical issues (which at this point I can't even fathom what could possibly go wrong), but hoping that I can manage it sufficiently well to allow everyone to tune in. So far, we've had 42 people register for the webinar, and considering our meetings run between 40-60 participants in general, if everyone gets online, we'll have doubled our meeting attendance, and that's just what I'd like this to accomplish. As the membership chair for RIGS, I've discovered that 63% of our members are out-of-state, which means that the majority can't take advantage of one of the coolest things about being a member, and that is to attend the meetings and hear the great speakers that we get in to give talks about RI topics. If this works, then we'll have to find a permanent method that will allow us to broadcast all of our speakers via webinar to allow attendence for the folks in CA, MI, FL and WI (yes, we've had registrants from all those places!).

And for me, I've learned several new things, such as which buttons to push on my laptop to get the thing connected to my projector (three buttons simultaneously, no less), how to mass email people, and how to invite people to a webinar. All good things, technologically speaking, for a good luddite to learn every day.

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