This post is part of a series originally shared on togetherness.is, a people-first resource for gathering remotely.
Many of our favorite gatherings have had to move online, from conferences and live performances, to team meetings and birthday celebrations. We’re suddenly being forced to adapt IRL events to work in new contexts – and in the process, we’re waking up to just how much is baked into those IRL gatherings that we may have taken for granted:
- Surprise, serendipity, or a shared laugh with someone sitting nearby
- The shared rhythm of a day’s activities
- Physical space – architecture, landscape, and how it feels to be in a particular location
- The particular quality of connecting with like-minded people, and maybe making new friends, while sharing space with each other
- Feeling a sense of belonging in a community
- Having the opportunity to meet someone we respect
- Enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and making memories
Can you recreate all of those experiences within a remote context?
Maybe not. But if we dig into how those experiences are created, they certainly don’t all rely exclusively on sharing physical space. It is possible to make remote gatherings far more meaningful than they usually are. It’s possible for us to feel truly together, even when we’re apart.
Our team knows this for sure, because while we’ve convened some of the most emotionally stirring, unforgettable conferences the tech world has experienced, we’re also a remote team that holds stirring, unforgettable virtual parties to celebrate with each other. We’ve worked with clients to design software demos for live events that foster connection and shared laughter – and to connect people before an event through vivid, immersive storytelling.
We’ve always been 100% sold on the magic of live events. And we also 💜 the good things the web makes possible—especially finding and connecting with your people across any distance.
There are a lot of generous folks helping by sharing knowledge about different aspects of remote work and remote events right now.
- We’re seeing technical how-to’s on how to transpose the essential functions of IRL gatherings as efficiently as possible into our new context – what software to use, what settings to employ, and so on.
- Schools and universities are migrating en masse to remote learning, and students and faculty are experiencing first-hand what the intangible benefits are of being on a campus, vs a classroom that’s been transposed into Zoom or Canvas. Educators are sharing best practices and resources for facilitating learning in a remote context.
- People with experience working remotely are sharing their home office setups and routines, their hard-won insights into how to maintain healthy boundaries, good posture, and navigate communication challenges.
Our focus is a little different than all of these excellent resources.
We want to share some of what we’ve learned from over a decade of bringing people together IRL and remotely, using creative technology to touch people emotionally, and fostering a whole-self workplace here at &yet where most of us are accustomed to sharing our home offices with kids, pets, and other family members.
We want to talk about what’s truly irreplaceable about IRL events, while also digging into how we might use our creativity to make remote gatherings just as special, memorable, valuable, and meaningful.
Like you, we’re acutely missing handshakes and hugs, traveling to meet people in person, and the serendipity of running into someone we haven’t seen for years at the coffee shop. We can’t wait to get those things back.
And we’re also pretty certain that our new reality is going to involve more remote gatherings.
So let’s talk about how togetherness works, how we can cultivate more of it, and make the absolute most out of our time together.
Check out the next post in the Togetherness series: Sit in the bad seats.