Tips

Should I DIY my own virtual conference with Zoom?

Since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom seems to be the word on everybody’s lips. It’s quick and easy to get a large number of people in the room at once, making it almost perfect for those looking to DIY their conference.

But should you DIY your own virtual conference with Zoom, or do you deserve better? Here are some things to think about when holding a conference in the socially distanced world of 2020.

The Zoom Platform

Zoom is undeniably a great tool; it allows lectures to go ahead outside the confines of the classroom, it sees volunteers coordinate efforts, it enables colleagues to bounce ideas off of one another in a casual meeting setting. Its power is in its ability to host a large number of people at any given time, making it a fairly close match to physical meetings.

Despite this, Zoom might not be your best option. When planning a large-scale conference, it can get incredibly hard to coordinate and organize beyond meeting limits or larger attendee groups with Zoom webinars. There’s the debate about how many people you can realistically have in any given Zoom room without the crowd being overwhelming and unruly. Then there’s the concern about whether you’ll create a memorable experience for your attendees, or whether they’ll just leave feeling fatigued by Zoom’s conference layout.

It’s a thin line and one that is difficult to navigate alone. There’s no doubt that conferences can work well on Zoom; whether or not it’s worth the blood, sweat, and tears required to plan a DIY conference is entirely up to you.

Support

One of the primary issues with hosting a DIY conference via Zoom is the lack of support you’ll receive during the event if something goes wrong. Struggling with internet connectivity for presenters or attendees? No one’s coming to the rescue. Can’t work out how to launch a breakout room? You know the drill - all on your own.

If you think you and your team can anticipate any technical issues and handle them yourselves without wanting to rip the screen out of your computer, then hosting your conference in this way is a great idea. If you have the manpower to cope with Zoom and its often-temperamental ways, props to you.

Cost

Another thing to consider when weighing up the options between holding a DIY Zoom conference or one by a fully integrated platform such as Jumbo is the cost of each.

Straight off the bat, it should be said that if you need to hold a large conference or hold conferences frequently, Zoom probably isn’t your best friend. Their plans for bigger team allowances/more frequent meetings can be quite pricey, considering that the plans only buy you more host and participant allowances.

You pay for a plan, and you still have to work out all of the planning and running of the conference; the marketing, the ticketing, the recording, etc. Again, only you will know whether it’s worth paying for Zoom whilst still sticking your neck out regarding the smoothness of the event running, or whether it’s worth splashing out slightly more for a holistic platform like that provided by Jumbo.

Final Thoughts

Feeling a little overwhelmed with the prospect of planning an entire conference through a DIY platform such as Zoom? That’s understandable. At Jumbo, we’re currently offering discounts on our full-service event production to give back to those who’ve been forced to take their conferences online, and to do our part in helping to #flattenthecurve.


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