How can we improve online EA social events?

by vaidehi_agarwalla1 min read21st Oct 20203 comments

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Earlier this year a team of group organisers planned a series of international Icebreaker social events over a period of about 6 months for the global EA community. Over the last few months, we have noticed that attendance of online events seemed to be suffering, so we have temporarily paused running events while we figure out the next best steps. 

We'd like to learn more about the EA community's preferences for social events before we continue. Specifically, we'd like to investigate the community's preferences for online events: why people attend online events, what kinds of events people find the most valuable, preferred platforms and why people choose not to attend such events. . 

We hope to evaluate whether the expected value of online events is high enough that we should put effort into developing further international social events. 

To that end, we have two asks:

1: Fill out a <10 minute survey

If you are interested in online social events (even if you haven’t attended events before, and especially if you are attending fewer events now than you used to), we would request you spend a few minutes filling out our very short (<10 minutes) noncommittal but potentially very high-impact survey: https://bit.ly/3lbyfmd.

We have over 70 responses so far, and would like to get as many as possible. The findings from this data will be shared with EA community builders to help inform their online event planning. 

2: Discussion of online social events in the comments

We’d be keen to start a community discussion on this topic. The following are suggestions which we would like to gather qualitative data/anecdotes on, but we'd be keen to hear general thoughts on attending social events as well.

  1. Has your participation in online social events changed over the course of the pandemic? If yes, how has it changed, and why?
  2. Do you prefer events with your local groups, or people you already know? Do you think it’s more meaningful/valuable to meet people you could meet in person one day?
  3. Do you prefer small group (3-5 people) to 1-1 discussions for socializing online?
  4. What kinds of events have you found to be the most engaging/valuable? Which social events have been the least engaging/valuable?
  5. Have you wanted to attend online events but not been able to? What has stopped you?

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3 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 2:15 AM
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My quick recommendation is that Gather.Town is really good for capturing what I want out of a social event. I encourage you to check LW's Walled Garden the next time they have a party.

I've tried using gather town, and it's fine except for the minor detail that the tech often fails! Another platform called mingle space seems to have enough of the same good features, and seems to work more robustly.

Thanks for this initiative, I will answer the survey. Regarding the questions here are some comments: 
-Has your participation in online social events changed over the course of the pandemic? If yes, how has it changed, and why?
I would say that the pandemic was the reason why I started being more involved in EA in the first place thanks to EAGx (before this I only read stuff or listened to podcasts but never got really involved). EAGx exceeded all my expectations about online events. The platform with the "matchmakings" , the 1 on 1s and the icebreakers were awesome. 
However, after that I felt more reluctant to join any other online event... perhaps they feel less "official" and I get the impression that only really involved in EA people attend. Perhaps it's easier to come up with excuses about lack of time with those ones... Or perhaps you start considering the time it takes to meet new people and you prefer to talk to people you already know before building new relationships (in my case I just message directly the people that I know instead of attending events).
 

-Do you prefer small group (3-5 people) to 1-1 discussions for socializing online?
I have never been in a 3-5 people meetup (just 1-1) but I think I would love it, both sound important and different. For career advice or networking 1-1 sound better to me but for discussion/having a good time/commenting stuff  3-5 could be great. But I´m not sure...