Monday, May 20, 2013

Tech Conferences Are NOT Destroying The World. That Is Just Some Dude Looking For A Catchy Headline!

LinkedIn is promoting a blog post that unfairly points to the Meetings Industry as the root of Global Warming.  Hunter Walk writes "Tech Conferences Are Destroying The World.  I Have A Solution" in which he points to live meetings (actually, live technology focused meetings...which makes me wonder if non-tech meetings cause the same issue or if he just wanted a powerful headline?) as a major cause of climate change, and he wants the conferences themselves to charge an extra fee to buy Carbon Credits to offset the air travel pollution caused by attendees.

Ummmm... this blog post has over 16,000 views as of my writing this here... but it only has 54 likes and 85 comments (because it is ridiculously off base).

Nowhere does he point out that most meetings are local and regional anyway.  Plus, the big national and international conferences draw heavily from their own area, so it is not clear if all attendees should pay for air travel related pollution, or just those who fly to the event. While the industry is working hard to implement many more "green" policies and procedures, Mr. Walks solution is really about something the airline industry should do (adding $100 per ticket for carbon offsets).  While I am not sure either way if this is really a solution, it is not on the back of the meeting to charge this fee.

Mr. Walk fails to give any credit to the positive impact that the meetings industry has on the economy.  The   Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy Study reveals that the U.S. meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs, $263 billion in spending, a $106 billion contribution to GDP, $60 billion in labor revenue, $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Yep, those are some big numbers.... but people who pick on the events business never show the value they create, as that takes away the power of a one-sided argument   It is easy to grab headlines when you pretend that meetings are just about the happy hours and beer, but the reality around the value of meetings (to the attendees and the economy) are powerful when you look at the whole picture.  

I am surprised to see LinkedIn promoting an article that wrongly pins the meetings industry as so evil.  While this online networking site is about virtual links, the real value in LinkedIn comes through the live connections that people make and cultivate.  Connections are more than "links", "likes", "shares" and "follows".  (Also, the comments on Mr. Walk's post that encourage only online meetings are silly, too).

Seems I blog often in support of the Meetings Industry, but that is because I am proud to be part of this business.  When people come together (and yes, that can happen online, but this should not discredit live) it is amazing what can happen.  Conferences, trade shows, conventions, and seminars are more likely to spur conversations, connections, ideas, and actions that will save the world (rather than destroy it).  Just saying!

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Patrick Allmond said...

Was Facebook promoting or was he doing some kind of paid promotion?