What problem does this solve?
In large conferences with more than a 100 attendees, it is not possible for all participants to interact with each other. People are generally interested in meeting up with other people interested in projects which are similar to theirs. People not necessarily get a chance to meet others with similar interests during formal talks.
What is the solution?
Conduct a 'birds of a feather' session or a themed-meetup to bring people of similar interests together. 'Birds of a feather' session is an informal gathering of enthusiasts about a particular topic. During the session, people get to know each other, talk about the topic of interest and end up creating meaningful ideas or solutions to challenges.
- Find a time and venue in advance. During conferences where everyone is likely to be busy, it will be smart to use a doodle for deciding on the time. A doodle is especially helpful if the participants live in different time zones.
- Create a meetup page, preferably on the conference website or conference wiki. If the gathering is meant to be private or invite-only, an etherpad can be used instead.
- Spread the word via social media to ensure good participation. The higher the participation, the more the output.
- Document the meetup, preferably on a wiki or etherpad. A list of participants with their contact details will help greatly for networking.
When to use
- In conferences like Wikimania where there are a large number of participants.
- In tech-fests where a large number of enthusiasts attend.